The Future of Pay Phones

November 20, 2003

JONESBORO, AR - Consider this...how often do you stop to use a pay phone?

Well, if you haven't used one lately, most pay phones now cost 50 cents for local calls.

We found that many Region 8 residents have pretty much written off pay phones.  "Anytime I need to make a call, I call from home or use a cell phone," said one.  Another told us she hadn't used a pay phone in nearly eight years.  "I'm not sure I've seen anyone at a pay phone in the last few years," said another.

It seems everyone is going the way of the cell phone.  "We have had a tremendous growth in northeast Arkansas and also nationwide...I think there's 150 million wireless users today," said Alltel general manager Lesa Handley.

According to the latest survey by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, in one year, total wireless subscribership has gone up by ten percent.  In the past ten years, the number of people using cellular phones has increased by more than 1000 percent.  "A wireless phone is just a wonderful thing to have.  It's a handheld hand set and it really frees you up to call for emergency, call for directions, and really take it with you whereever you go," said Handley.  "I think the industry is very competitive today and will remain competitive in the future."