Payphones, already few and far between, will soon become the first casualty of the shrinking voice-calls market, says Telkom’s consumer business head, Attila Vitai. But the parastatal will be glad to see the back of them as it repositions itself as a provider of data-based communication services. Telkom’s cost-reduction initiatives include the elimination of outdated services such as payphones, which have become far more onerous to maintain than they are worth. "We were employing people to go out into the Karoo to empty a coin box ... It would cost us something like R2,000 to send someone out to collect the money, and there was like 10c in the coin box — it really is uneconomical," says Vitai. Less than two decades ago, before cellphones found their way into almost every consumer’s pocket, Telkom had nearly 200,000 payphones in SA. Other than the Post Office’s endeavours to kill off its own business, these phone booths, usually on the side of the road in the case of Telkom, and Voda...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now