Year after year, it was a tradition to come home and observe, stacked on the landing of the apartment block, the many thick copies of the telephone directories . They were of various types. The white pages offered us the list of telephone numbers of the subscribers, when only Telefónica existed, along with the name and surname. The yellow pages offered us a great service, finding a multitude of businesses that we contacted by phone. Today this has radically changed. Before there was no Internet and the only way to find a phone number was through these voluminous copies. To this day, they have little sense.
The end of the guides and cabins?
The same goes for phone booths. A couple of decades ago it was normal to see, dotting the city, numerous of these booths, some closed, others open, with which the citizen contacted, via telephone, with others, thanks to a handful of coins. A huge benefit for the Telefónica company that today, thanks to the device from which you are surely reading this, doesn't make much sense either. Although in some cities, cabinas, there are, there are.
The landscape of phone booths and directories could definitely be decided in a few months. The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has published a report on the proposal to modify the universal telecommunications service, which could imply the total abolition of telephone booths and directories for public use.
The Interior Ministry contemplates a series of public telecommunications services, guaranteed, in which the guides and telephone booths entered. The services that could stop being supplied by it are, as we said:
- Telephone directories. Telefónica is still obliged to provide this service, although now the directories are considerably smaller in size than before and it has been successively displaced by its electronic format.
- Telephone booths. Telefónica continues to be obliged to provide this service, although given the low level of demand, income and territorial distribution, they could end up disappearing from Spain. It is not very clear what will happen to the cabins that still remain in Spain, if it were determined that they no longer have validity as basic use. In other countries, phone booths, such as England, can be 'adopted'. In Japan, for example, they have been converted into fish tanks and in Andalusia, some cabins have been converted into mobile charging points. Who knows, that example and others could also spread everywhere in our country and take advantage of the infrastructure already built, thus saving time and money.
- Consultation of subscriber number. Gone is the day when we called telephone information and asked for the telephone number of a subscriber. A service that, since 2011, has been without a supplier, since the market, by itself, satisfies the demand, and it is not necessary for a specific company to provide it.
The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), with the preparation of this report, comes to the conclusion that it is unnecessary that these three elements need to continue to be guaranteed by the Government of Spain, given such low demand. The citizen can already get, through available and widely disseminated means, the telephone number of any business, so they have these needs covered