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The Evolution of the British Phonebox

Nigel Linge* & Andy Sutton**

* University of Salford

** BT / University of Salford

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This paper was published in 2017 within the Journal of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (Volume 11, Part 1, Pages 25-31) and is made available here with their kind permission.

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It’s achieved iconic status and is recognised the world over as symbolising Britain but numbers have declined massively and BT reported a 90% drop in usage in the last ten years, so has the death knell been sounded for the British Phonebox? Well, strange that it may sound, most certainly not for two of Britain’s phonebox providers are bringing new designs to our streets. Last year BT announced plans to introduce Links kiosks whilst in February 2017, New World Payphones unveiled their own new kiosk design. So, with Ofcom, branding Britain as a “smartphone” society, why do we still need the humble phonebox? To answer that question, we need start right back at the beginning and revisit why phoneboxes were conceived in the first place.

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The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals

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