Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC)- the fixed line monopoly - has done away with most of its public payphones. Only a few of the public pay phones, which used to populate towns and villages remain and only if they continue to make money for BTC, while the rest have been removed. BTC chief executive officer, Vincent Seretse revealed in an interview with Mmegi Business on Wednesday that most of the public pay phones were removed last year.

"We realised that they are not making money," he said. Instead, he continued: "We reviewed the strategy on public pay phones and agreed that we will only have them where we can make money."

However, he said the loss of these phones had been compensated by their revival of the new system of private payphones. He said the project, which started two weeks ago was already proving popular with many people. Already more than 200 payphones have been bought and are operational. Seretse explained that the new private payphones operate the same way that private mobile payphones work.

The owners only have to buy airtime unlike mobile payphones, operators of BTC payphones would need to be connected to a copper line. "We have created an opportunity for payphones and through that we are promoting small businesses," he said.

Mmegi/The Reporter