Telkom hopes to ditch payphones in South Africa within the next 6 months: report

Telkom has indicated that it plans to eliminate a number of outdated services, including public payphones, as a means of cutting down on costs.

Speaking in an interview with the the Financial Mail on Thursday, Telkom’s consumer business head, Attila Vitai said that the move forms part of the company’s repositioning as provider of data-based communication services.

“We were employing people to go out into the Karoo to empty a coin box,” said Vitai.

“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.”

Vitai said that subject to Icasa and government’s approval, it would only have payphones in a few key locations within the next six months.

This is because the company was still bound by regulations to provide the payphones as a community-service element, he said.


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Telkom hopes to ditch payphones in South Africa within the next 6 months: report