Competition for your nickel

As Jerry Seinfeld used to say, “d’ja ever notice that there aren’t as many payphones as there were before cell phones, or is just me?” For those of us who refuse to get on the expensive (and often annoying) cell phone bandwagon, a search for a phone booth is often a frustrating experience. Of course, when you finally find one (behind the toilet paper in the back of a convenience store), it’s more often than not being used by a 15-year old talking to his girlfriend.

Help is at hand. Good old fashioned competition, which has already brought Canadians relief from exorbitant long distance rates, is now being unleashed in the pay phone market. MetroNet Communications has announced an agreement with Canada Payphone Corporation (CPC) to supply local telephone service to all of Canada Payphone’s “smart” payphone locations. The national contract should result in approximately 13,000 access lines in service over the next three years.

So once again Canadian consumers have a choice, and will undoubtedly find it easier to find a payphone right when they need one. We may even see the return of the 10 cent local call.