The Secret Reason Pay Phones Still Exist

...It's not about the pay phone.

In today's cellphone-wielding society, many people might be surprised to see a pay phone on a street corner while out and about. In 2004, New York City had 25,000 pay phones. That number has dwindled quite a bit in the past few years.

As Pete Izzo, Jr., a payphone technician for CBS Outdoor, showed Mashable, some people are so bewildered by the seemingly obsolete structure taking up space on the sidewalk that they are mistaking phone booths for rest stops.

"Right around this level is where it starts to corrode," Izzo said, showing the camera the rusty base. "This is usually due to both humans and dogs urinating on the pedestal."

He went on to show other units in which he and his team installed angled shelves. That way, the fluid will fall onto the ground or, as Izzo added with a laugh, "hopefully onto their own feet so they learn a lesson not to urinate on the phone."

The truth is, these pay phones are more useful than they seem. Today, CBS Outdoor has 35 Wi-Fi-equipped phones — and the company is exploring ways to monetize its Wi-Fi through sponsorships.    

"The future of these phones is not the phones, it's the infrastructure," Izzo said. "If you have electricity and Internet inside a pay phone, you can do anything there."


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