AT&T to exit pay phone business next year - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

AT&T to exit pay phone business next year

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - AT&T will quit the rapidly shrinking pay phone business by the end of 2008.

The San Antonio-based phone company says it'll depart the field before it becomes unprofitable -- as more people carry cell phones and other wireless devices.

AT&T expects independent operators to buy its 65,000 pay phones in prisons and in public places in its original 13-state area.

Spokesman Michael Coe says pay phones are a tiny part of AT&T's overall business.

The pool of pay phones nationwide has shrunk from 2.6 million to one million in the past decade. AT&T has more than 67 million wireless subscribers.

BellSouth, which AT&T acquired at the end of 2006, had already exited the pay phone business. So had Denver-based Qwest Communications International.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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