Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket telephones: Phone booths dying but some to stay – for now

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The last decade has seen rapid development in telecommunications technology, which has led to cheaper mobile phones and greatly reduced need for public land lines.

Consequently many phone booths in Phuket, run by the TOT Public Company, have been removed.

However, according to Chanwis Bunjongkarn, the TOT’s Senior Director for Phuket Customer Services, phone booths continue to provide an irreplaceable service.

Mr Chanwis says the TOT currently maintains more than 1,000 of the booths in Phuket.

Although the revenue from operating them has fallen by 70%, the company has only removed about 20% of the number in operation a decade ago. Yet the cost of their upkeep is quite significant, due in part to vandalism and coin theft.

“The TOT, as a public company, does not operate the phone booths for profit. “We keep them to serve the public need and to provide certain groups of people with easily accessible services,” Mr Chanwis says.

“Although mobile phones have become a lot cheaper, some low income earners still cannot afford them. And foreign tourists also use them [phone booths] frequently,” he adds.

Thai law requires that ‘some’ phone booths be readily available to the majority of the public, whether they are needed by the majority or not.

The legislation, which has been in place for five years, is to ensure public equality in telecommunications access.

The TOT’s phone booths are spread across the island, with a higher concentration in populated areas.

They are often needed in public places, Mr Chanwis says, such as airports, bus stations, hospitals, tourist hotspots, schools and even along the beach.

“Younger schoolchildren, for example, are discouraged from taking mobile phones to school because they can be distracting and undesirable [there].

“In such cases public phone booths are useful for the children,” he noted.

This year, the TOT plans to remove more than 200 booths from Phuket’s streets due to the continually falling demand. However, it will apparently be quite some time before they all disappear.

“Phone booths, like street lights, help the public feel safe. In an emergency anyone can pick up the phone,” Mr Chanwis says.

— Anand Singh


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Transport24 mins ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of32 mins ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism53 mins ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Best of1 hour ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand1 hour ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Phuket2 hours ago

Talad Kaset market in Phuket reopens

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

PM Prayut tests negative after parliament maid has Covid-19

World3 hours ago

Myanmar: American journalist’s detention extended 2 more weeks

Pollution3 hours ago

Beached sperm whale covered in oil rescued in Phuket

Thailand4 hours ago

Unsatisifed with haircut, grandfather goes to police station for help

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Thai DDC probe into Covid-19 vaccine recipient deaths to finish next week

Thailand4 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | Situation in Hua Hin, bars petition for overturn of alcohol ban, Sandbox

Politics4 hours ago

Thammanat Prompaew said to be PPRP’s next secretary-general

Thailand5 hours ago

Pattaya security guard dies after crashing into garbage truck

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8