The days of the old-school telephone booth are numbered, with the next generation of Telstra’s payphones unveiled by outdoor advertising company JCDecaux.
A total of 1800 booths are planned for five major cities in the next two years, in the first major update to the payphones since 1987.
Twelve new digital booths were unveiled in Perth’s CBD on Tuesday, with a rollout across Melbourne’s CBD expected in the new year.
The new kiosks are WiFi enabled and include USB charging docks and touchscreens, which display information about public transport, community polling, and multilingual and disability services. The payphones sit alongside 72-inch digital advertising panels, which will showcase six marketing partners.
A promotional video of the kiosks shows marketing from brands including Westpac, Telstra, Gucci, H&M and Schweppes. The kiosks and advertising panel are branded with the Telstra and JCDecaux names.
???The contract between JCDecaux and Telstra is expected to be the country’s largest for a national digital out-of-home project. The 1800 payphones included in the contract cover Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – spanning 64 per cent of the population.
Telstra last upgraded part of its payphone network in 2014, converting some of Telstra’s payphones into WiFi hotspots. In 2016, it lost a bid in Melbourne to turn some payphones into electronic back-lit billboards with the ability to flip ads every 30 seconds – worth up to an estimated $8000 a week each.
Later that year, the Productivity Commission recommended the government scrap a requirement on Telstra to provide “universal access” to telephone lines and payphones as most people were connected to a mobile network.
Telstra currently holds a 20-year, $3 billion contract to provide payphones until 2032.
Data from the Measurement of Outdoor Visibility and Exposure, measuring out-of-home media – including roadsides, airports, bus stations, trams and shopping centres – found there had been a significant increase in viewers of outdoor advertising in 2017. It says people are twice as likely to respond to advertising they see when they are outdoors.