Payphones in Germany

Ten years ago, there were more than 110,000 public telephones in the country, today there are still about 30,000. The phone makes many unprofitable. However, some sites do not go out of style.

They still exist: yellow telephone booths. Or those who have German mark and Pfennig symbols next to the coin slots. Are also curiosities including: in the North Hesse Melsungen is for example a red phone box from England. You all seem to be-like something from the time in the face of the massive spread of mobile phones and telephone booths are taken up less and less. So they disappear in many places.

Adaptation of need for

There are currently Deutsche Telekom according to nationwide about 30,000 public phones in operation. Ten years ago, there were more than 110,000 copies according to figures of the Federal Network Agency, in 2013 there is not still around 48.000. figures for developing countries. “Basically we continuously our inventory of phone cells fit the needs of the citizens”, says of Telekom.

The demand however is not too high since the mobile boom: Federal Network Agency counted last more than 113 million SIM cards, which plug into mobile phones among other things. Telekom according to remain the public telephone “anywhere where it makes sense economically”, in operation around at train stations or airports. It can look as different in the province. So the last telephone booths will be reduced this year, for example, in the Central Hessian Lahnau. In Darmstadt around 30 authorisations for a removal of payphones are granted a period of three years.

Sales decides

Telekom contacted local authorities if she want to dismantle hardly used phone House: had been agreed with the municipal Central associations to reach places, “if extremely inefficient public telephones with a turnover of less than 50 euros on whose territory a month.” The turnover was a “clear indication” that the population is obviously no longer the desire after a primary care at this point.

That is feeling the English phone booth in Melsungen: the city has it more than 30 years ago in the framework a twinning received. A telephone companies offer there even users to make free calls of a certain amount of time. However the use is waning more and more in times of smartphones despite the offer says city staff Mario Okrafka.


From a historian’s perspective, the development is understandable: “There is a general tendency to make the accessibility of such deals always independent from the place in the history of the infrastructure”, says the Gießen Professor for contemporary history Dirk van Laak. In this respect was the removal of payphones in the trend. “You can see that already in the phone home”, explains van Laak, who researches the history of infrastructure facilities.

“Earlier it was centrally placed in the entrance, later then longer cable were added so that you could pull back in his own room. And the Mobile provides a spatial independence on a hitherto unprecedented scale of course.” If a piece of infrastructure disappears, says scientist van Laak, “then there’s always a bit of sentimentality and nostalgia it attaches itself”. Modern phone booths to score even with added value: there are devices that can send messages on the cell phone or which serve as hotspots for Internet use.

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