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Spain's 15,000 remaining phone boxes set to disappear
Monday, January 3, 2022 @ 3:46 PM

DESPITE the vast majority of the public owning a mobile phone, Spain still has nearly 15,000 telephone boxes in the streets – but their days are numbered.

National telecommunications company Telefónica says it plans to dismantle them all starting this year.

It's now 93 years since the first telephone cabins went up on the streets, and they went on to become legally protected, considered under national law to be an 'essential and universal public service'.

Now, though, Telefónica says each remaining phone box has only been used for an average of just one call a week in the past year.

A total of 14,824 are still in operation, but they are not expected to still be in place by the time they would have reached their 100th 'birthday'.

This would have been in 2028, a whole century after the first cabin was erected in what was then known as Viena Park and is now called Florida Park, a section of central Madrid's huge green Retiro Park, and inside a kiosk which had to be opened up for the public to use the phone.

Telefónica has always been the sole company responsible for maintaining the service and keeping phone boxes in working order – although the job is regularly put out to tender by the ministry for the economy, the national communications giant has always been the only bidder.

The last time the contract was up for bid was in December 2019, for two years, meaning it expired two days ago.

According to Telefónica, as at the end of 2020, the average phone box was used to make 0.17 calls a day – 1.2 calls a week, or roughly one every six days.

Around the end of 2017 to the close of 2018, each cabin was used to make 0.37 daily calls – 2.6 calls a week, or just over one call every three days.



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