Pay Phone Extinction Imminent: AT&T Cutting the Cord Next Year

Cellphones' genocide of pay phones just leveled up: AT&T will be totally out of the pay phone business by the end of next year. It's a hard blow to a long languishing subset of communication hardware that was eulogized way back in '03 by schmucky Joel Schumacher's Phone Booth. There are about a million pay phones left, down from a peak 2.6 million in 1998.

What's weird is that even though Japan's even more cellphone-oriented than we are, I still saw about a bajillion pay phones on the street, in train stations, pretty much everywhere. Some of 'em were inside some pretty nice booths too. On the other hand, I have to think about places to spot a pay phone back at home, a feat's that probably only going to get rarer over time. Another "back in my day" story for the kids. [PR Newswire, Flickr]