The approximately 16,000 public telephone booths located throughout Italy, now replaced by mobile phones, will be gradually removed: only those in hospitals, prisons, barracks and mountain shelters will remain.
The curtain is about to fall on a small piece of 20th century history, at least in the field of communications. About 16 thousand public telephone booths located throughout the Italian territory, now supplanted by mobile phones, will be gradually removed and only those found in hospitals will remain with at least ten beds, in barracks with at least 50 occupants or in prisons because they still perform an important social function. Those where there is no mobile network coverage will also be guaranteed, for example the public telephones installed in the mountain huts.
Agcom, after a public consultation in which all the operators largely agreed, established that Tim is no longer obliged to guarantee the public service and can begin to dismantle it. However, it will be a gradual process that will be completed within a few years. The process is part of the implementation of the European directive 2018/1972 which plans to modernize telecommunications in the EU member states. Telephone directories will also disappear, also supplanted by the internet and by the “digital” address books of smartphones.
That phone booths would soon be superseded was in the air. On the other hand, according to a survey conducted by SWG on behalf of AgCom less than 1% of respondents used public phones in the previous 90 days and even 12% have never made calls from these phones. Over 80% of the population no longer feels the need to use this service and three out of four people would not even know where to look for a cabin near their home. According to the same market survey, for around 70% of the population, telephone booths are not essential and the final figure is lapidary: there were only 118 calls made from public telephones in 2021, 3 of which to emergency numbers.