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Swiss Get New Web Pay Phones

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

30 October 2001

Switzerland's leading telecommunications company, Swisscom, has launched a new generation of public payphones that can be used not only to make regular telephone calls but can also send e-mails, text messages and surf the Internet.

Zurich is the first location to receive the web payphones; fifty are now up and running and Swisscom has targeted 'mobile' youngsters, commuters, tourists and business travellers by placing the payphones in busy public areas. In other words, states Swisscom, the payphones are particularly aimed at customers who have an obvious need to access information, communicate or have time to kill.

'You just have to touch the screen and choose a task,' said Swisscom's Pia Rogers who told local reporters: 'I can get information on such things as Zurich Airport and whatever is going on in Zurich today. You can even send an email if you don't have your own account. Then I put in my credit card and take it out, then wait a few seconds and then I can write the email.'

He added: 'They are quite well received but it is a test phase as people are trying it out and every time someone uses a web payphone they are asked for some feedback. 'In the future the web payphones will be in places where people are used to media and multimedia communication so that will be in places where many tourists or travellers are hanging around.'

The web payphone services include:

  • accessing the Internet via predefined links such as news, weather, business, etc., or via Internet addresses entered manually
  • calling up free information such as airport information, tourist information, timetables or information on special events
  • sending and - with user's own webmail account - receiving e-mails
  • sending SMS messages
  • making phone calls (supplemented by important information such as country codes)
  • printing out Internet pages, e-mails and games to take away

Swisscom adds that except for those services that are offered free of charge, the fees for the payphone calls are charged at the same rates as public payphones plus a basic surcharge of CHF.50, and Internet, e-mail, SMS and entertainment services cost CHF.50 a minute. To print out a maximum of five A4 pages also costs CHF.50 and entertainment pages can be printed out free of charge.

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