AT&T Is Exiting The Pay Phone Business After 129 Years

AT&T announced today that they are exiting the pay phone business, and will be phasing out 65,000 pay phones in 13 states, according to Bloomberg.

From AT&T:

The company plans to phase out both public pay phones and phones provided under contracts at government correctional facilities through the end of next year. All customers will receive advance notification of specific plans as well as information on other potential providers and product options.

The move affects AT&T pay phones in the company’s traditional 13-state service area only. BellSouth Corp., which was acquired by AT&T Inc. in late 2006, had previously exited the pay phone business in its nine-state service area. AT&T’s wholesale pay phone services are not affected.

Public Communications will honor all existing customer contract terms and conditions while continuing to provide excellent customer service throughout the withdrawal process.

“This is the right time for us to take this step on behalf of our customers, employees and stockholders,” said David Huntley, senior vice president for Customer Information Services. “We expect that independent providers will pick up much of this business, and, as we exit the business, we will be able to refocus our resources to areas that offer stronger growth potential and greater opportunity for the company.”

The phone company cited “significant pressure” from “reduced pay phone usage” as a result of cellphones as the reason for the phase out. AT&T installed the first coin-operated pay phone at a bank in Hartford, CT in 1889.

AT&T Announces Intention to Withdraw from Pay Phone Business by End of 2008
[AT&T] (Thanks,Josh!)
AT&T to Disconnect Pay-Phone Business After 129 Years (Update1) [Bloomberg]