What is one to do with the phone booth? Probably a question that quite a number of incumbent telecommunication operators have asked themselves since the turn of the century.
Mobile phones and laptops connected to the Internet via GPRS or some other fancy technology have slowly but surely put a dent in the utility and usage of the phone booth. In certain places, the actual service they render has dramatically evolved. In the UK they serve as shelters and advertisement. In Switzerland, some of them are equiped with defibrillators.
In China one municipality has plans to turn them into Wi-Fi hotspots. Provided the fixed-line functionality is kept – not everybody has a mobile phone yet – this makes sense: first, not everybody is connected non-stop and hence spots to reconnect to the Internet are welcome, at least until the price of a non-stop connection becomes financially reasonable; second the location of existing phone booths has usually been carefully thought of and match the distribution of population. Now add a quick-charging mechanism (for both mobile phones and laptops) and there might be a second life for the phone booth.