The end of the telephone booth is imminent in the Czech Republic. The state will no longer subsidize public base phones from 2021. The CTU in Prague has that decided. The telephone company O2 Czech Republic wants to dismantle the last telephone booths because it is no longer possible to cover costs. For one thing, the number of conversations continues to decrease, a spokeswoman said. Secondly, vandalism causes high maintenance costs.
As the successor to the former state post office, O2 Czech Republic currently still operates around 1,150 telephone booths, which ensure a minimum supply in small communities with up to 200 inhabitants. Most are plain gray-blue. At the turn of the millennium, there were still around 30,000 public telephone machines, as the official name suggests.
A long story ends with the decision. The first pay phone was established in Prague in 1911, still in the times of the Habsburg monarchy. The telephone booth had the greatest importance in socialism. Before 1989 it was difficult for private individuals to get their own telephone connection. Today, however, according to the Czech statistical authority CSU, almost 97 percent of all people over the age of 16 have their own mobile phone.
In Germany, the number of telephone booths has also dropped sharply. According to the latest figures, Telekom operated around 15,700 public telephone stations nationwide. According to Telekom, there were still around 120,000 payphones in Germany in 1992. In April 2019, Telekom dismantled the last of the once characteristic post-yellow telephone booths.