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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
ATMs planned for phone kiosks
Phone box with cash machine
The new style phone boxes will feature a cash machine
Phone boxes in Cardiff could soon be equipped with cash machines in an attempt to get more people to use them.

BT have applied for some of the city's phone boxes to be kitted out with banking facilities after a drop in the number of people using them.

The telephone firm blames an increase in the number of people with mobile phones for the drop in usage.

It hopes that by teaming up with banks to add cash machines to phone boxes that more people will use them.

It is the latest in a series of initiatives - including adding internet access in phone booths and using the outside of the phone box as advertising space - that BT has introduced since the decline the numbers of people using the public phones.

There are more than 75,000 public pay phones in operation in the UK although there are concerns that they are no longer profitable.

Around two thirds of our kiosks in the UK are unprofitable
BT Spokesman

The planned kiosks in Cardiff will include a cash machine as well as a telephone and will replace existing phones at four sites in the city.

A spokesman for BT in Wales said: "We are trying to find new ways of making pay phones more relevant to our customers.

"Around two thirds of our kiosks in the UK are unprofitable and it is all because of a growth in the number of people with mobile phones."

He said that around 60 of the new type phone kiosks were being planned across the UK in a trial. BT is linking up with various financial companies to offer the service.

Revenue drop

In September 2004, BT announced that it expected to axe nearly one in five phone boxes particularly in rural areas in a policy "driven by a complete culture change in communications" which had seen a huge rise in mobile phone ownership.

Calls from public phone boxes have steadily decreased with revenue dropping by 40%. Repair and maintenance costs of the kiosks are considered a financial burden by BT.

In 2001, the company announced it was to stop its placement of payphones, and in February 2002 began a programme of identifying and uprooting "uneconomic" kiosks.

Cardiff Council planners are considering an application for the new style call boxes.


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