Callers Disconnect with Pay Phones
There are almost two million pay phones in the U.S., most of them in high-traffic areas.
But, many people don't even notice them until they need one. And, not many need one now that two out of every three people in the U.S. have cell phones.
"I use my cell phone," said Anthony Antencil of Columbia. "I probably haven't used a pay phone since I was in 8th grade and I'm a senior in college now."
The Federal Communications Commission said pay phones have dropped 30% from their peak in the late 1990s, from 2.6 million in 1998 to 1.8 million in 2003.
However, pay phones are not dead yet, according to Don Neely of CenturyTel.
"There are people who cannot afford a home phone, who cannot afford a wireless phone, who still look to pay phones," Neely explained. "There are people whose battery is dead or, if they are running low on minutes, will go to a pay phone."
Anyone can own a payphone, although Verizon, Quest and AT&T own 75% of them, while CenturyTel has the other 25%.