Phone booths used to be places where couples met secretly, where people talked for hours in thick clouds of cigarette smoke, where homeless people sought refuge or children played pranks. But this era is coming to an end. The main Swiss telecom, Swisscom, is beginning to dismantle those left since it is no longer obliged by law to provide them as a public service.
At the peak in 1995, there were over 58,000 public telephones in Switzerland. But since it first appeared on the market, the mobile phone has slowly been sounding the death knell for public phones.
There are still 5,900 such phones in operation, but they are being phased out. Anyone nostalgic for a soon-to-be bygone era can purchase a booth for around CHF3,000.