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Disengaged: BT to remove 10 ‘redundant’ payphones in Armagh

Payphone on Barrack Street Armagh
Payphone on Barrack Street Armagh

BT are dialling down on their payphone presence in Armagh as the telecommunications giant say they will remove around 10 redundant pay boxes in the area – including this one on Barrack Street – before the end of the year!

It might be a sign of the times but is it a move you agree with?

BT say it is part of a wider programme to remove underused payphones across the UK.

The telecommunications giant evaluates each phone box based on its location, usage, availability of other payphones nearby, and mobile signal nearby.

A BT spokesperson said: “We’re planning to remove around 10 redundant payphones in Armagh including the one on Barrack Street as part of our wider programme to remove underused payphones across the UK. These removals are being carried out in line with Ofcom’s latest guidance.

“With the vast majority of people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts and the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme.

“That’s why we’re continuing to review our payphones estate, making sure we’re prioritising the removal of those not being used. We’d urge any communities that would still like to retain their local red kiosk to take it on for £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme.”

Communities can ‘adopt’ phone boxes to turn into something completely different. With payphone usage falling, communities are looking at new ways of using them. Thousands of boxes have been reinvented as mini-libraries, information hubs and defibrillator sites. Communities can adopt most red boxes for just £1. They can also adopt modern glass boxes if they want to house a defibrillator. Visit for more information.

Around 30 phone boxes have so far been adopted by communities across NI.

A phone box being removed:

Under its own rules, BT and KCOM now cannot remove a box if it is the last remaining in an area (i.e. more than 400 metres’ walking distance from the next public call box) and it meets one or more of these criteria:

  • it is in a place without coverage from all four mobile network providers;
  • it is located in an area with a high frequency of accidents or suicides;
  • it has made 52 or more calls over the past 12 months; or
  • there is other evidence that the box is reasonably needed at the site – for example if it is likely to be relied upon in the event of a local emergency, such as flooding, or if it is used to call helplines.

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