Web payphones launched in Zurich
Web payphones are popping up all over Zurich, as the public tests them for Swisscom Payphone Services.
The country's largest telecommunications group said the new generation of public payphones are highly versatile and can be used to make calls, send e-mails or surf the Internet.
"You just have to touch the screen," and choose a task, Swisscom's Pia Rogers told swissinfo while trying out a payphone at Zurich's main railway station. The phones drew a crowd of young people and commuters eager to examine the new service.
Some 50 web payphones are operating across the city, from the airport to the larger shopping centres.
Rogers said the phone sites were chosen because of the number of people who use the facilities.
"The whole service is mostly aimed at people who are very mobile, who travel a lot for work or entertainment," said Rogers. "I would call the target customers mobile people, young people, commuters and tourists."
A wide range of services and content is being offered, including some free of charge.
"I can get information on such things as Zurich Airport and whatever is going on in Zurich today," Rogers said.
"You can even send an email if you don't have your own account. Then I put in my credit card and take it out, then wait a few seconds and then I can write the email."
The service costs the same as for public payphones plus a basic surcharge of SFr0.50. Internet, e-mail, SMS and entertainment services cost SFr0.50 a minute. Printing a maximum of five A4 pages costs SFr0.50, while entertainment pages can be printed for free.
"They are quite well received but it is a test phase as people are trying it out and every time someone uses a web payphone they are asked for some feedback," said Rogers.
Swisscom won't say just how much the machines cost, but Rogers said their numbers are likely to grow.
"In the future the web payphones will be in places where people are used to media and multimedia communication so that will be in places where many tourists or travellers are hanging around."
The new payphones accept the Swisscom Taxcard as well as major credit cards. And some Web payphones also accept Swiss coins.
by Tom O'Brien
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