Australia to get new high-tech pay phones
Coming to Australia: New pay phones with colour touch screens and high-speed Internet connections for sending text, photo and video messages.
Australia's telecommunications giant Telstra, facing increased competition from mobile phones, is outfitting 10 interactive public telephones, at nearly $8,000 each, for a 10-week trial in Sydney's central business district. E-mail and other Internet access will cost about $1.60 for 20 minutes, text messages are 23 cents each and video messages cost $1.20. Local calls are the same as those at conventional pay phones, 32 cents.
Pay-phone use has declined over the past decade as more people carry mobile phones. About 88 percent of Australians have them, Telstra said. The company currently owns about half of Australia's 65,000 pay phones, from which about 1 million calls are made each day. ap