The ubiquity of wireless devices has made pay phones obsolete. Thats according to AT&T Inc., which said on Monday its exiting the pay phone business by the end of 2008.
The decision includes the pay phones AT&T maintains at prisons and other government correctional facilities. Wholesale pay phone services, however, are not affected.
AT&T said it expects to sell most of its pay phone assets to independent providers. In the meantime, it will keep servicing the phones it owns, and start giving customers information on other potential providers and products.
AT&Ts shutdown only affects the pay phones in its traditional 13-state region. BellSouth Corp. had closed its pay phone business before AT&T bought the provider last year.
Pay phones in the United States have declined industry-wide from about 2.6 million phones in 1998 to an estimated 1 million phones today, AT&T said.
AT&T Inc. www.att.com