payphone-USSR.jpg (28317 bytes) Russia-1.jpg (66167 bytes) gnt-807.jpg (21182 bytes)
German GNT payphone


Urban token payphone is supplied with disc dialer, vandal-protected body and impulse dialing
TGS-15360Vandal-protected telephone is destined for exploitation in TfSOP and provides local, intercity and international calls, additional services for intellectual network or for independent exploitation in local communications networks as an usual telephone for common use. Telephone is to be fixed on walls and it is produced in two modifications: with or without liquid crystal display. Must be exploited with the temperature from -40�C to +40�C. click here for more info
RUSSIA-SIBERIA-phonecall.jpg (19685 bytes) RUSS-public-phone-30.3.jpg (55645 bytes)
Card-payphone TMGS-15280 making a call in Siberia!
RUSSIA-payphone.jpg (24440 bytes)

Russian Telephones - this section contributed by Anton

My name is Anton. I'm telephone hobbyist living in Russia.

In the first picture you can see an old AMT payphone, 1960. Instructions at the top: "Insert a coin. Take the receiver. Wait for dial tone. Dial a number." Instructions below: "For emergency call services without coin dial:  fire - 01, police - 02, ambulance - 03".  In the second picture is a Moscow payphone which had been used in the 1930s.

Next picture is a model of 1970's, AMT-69. It was most widespread payphone in 70's-80's. You can find that phones yet in some province places and rural areas.

This picture is with opened front door. Note the card with electric circuit schematics at inside part of the door. 

  1. The wall of coin box.
  2. Reciever
  3. Steel body
  4. Coin testing assembly
  5. Rotary dial. 

Unfortunately I didn't find the picture of normal closed payphone.

Next picture is most widespread modern payphone TMGS. It uses smart-cards for payment. Also in some places are other types of smart-card payphones, some of them are imported (GNT from Germany, URMET from Italy).



Payphone Market in St. Petersburg


Courtesy: M. Chernobrovkina, US Commercial Service, Amer. Consulate Gen., St. Ptrsbrg.




1.     SUMMARY. The St.Petersburg payphone market has been given a second birth.  In 1995-97 the number of payphones decreased substantially.  However, from the middle of 1998 their numbers started to grow and continued growth is predicted.  End Summary.


2.   In the early 90s, nine companies shared the St.Petersburg and Leningrad region payphone market.  Those were: Petersburg Telephone Network (PTN), St.Petersburg Payphones (SP), Lensvyaz, St.Petersburg Trunk-Line and Long-distance Communication, Peterstar, BCL, Teleport-St.Petersburg, Comincom, and Lenfincom.  They operated two major types of payphones, token and card.  In 1995-96, due to the low profitability of payphones, Petersburg Telephone Network, Peterstar, Teleport-St.Petersburg, and Lenfincom left the payphone market.  Comincom reduced its number of payphones from 20 to 5, which were located in major business centers. 


3.   New developments in payphone services started in 1998 and will continue through 1999.  The two factors that influenced it are: 1) The license given by Goscomsvyaz to telecom operators obliges them to install a certain number of payphones, constituting not less then 0.5 percent of their total line capacity.  This makes the installation of payphones obligatory for telecommunication companies.

2) Operators understood that payphones might be profitable when a quality model is installed in a strategic location and uses a convenient means of payment.


4.     Currently, six payphone companies are present in the St.Petersburg market.  Below is a description of each of them with the number of payphones operated by the company.


5.     Baltic Communications Limited (BCL)

The company was founded in 1991 by "Krasnaya Zarya", Lensovet, Cable & Wireless (Great Britain), and San Francisco Moscow Teleport Inc. (U.S.A.).  In 1996, PLD Telecom (U.S.) bought 100 percent of BCL's shares.  The company employees 97 people and provides services to 500 clients. 


BCL installed its first payphone in August 1993.  Now it operates 150 payphones manufactured by the British company GPT.  The cost of each payphone is $2,000.  These payphones accept American Express, Visa, Eurocard-MasterCard, Diner's Club, and JCB.  Verification of cards is managed by the Russian company United Cards Service.  Additionally, BCL manufactures its own payphone cards with $5.00, $10, and $20 limits.


The payphones are switched directly to the company's international telephone station and are installed in heavy traffic places, like airports, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other areas often frequented by foreigners.  By the middle of 1999, the company is planning to replace existing payphones with Schlumberger phones that accept chip-cards and credit cards.  The reasons for replacement are: 1) Y2K problem 2) Receiving complete service from the manufacturer (GPT does not have an office in Russia, while Schlumberger is very active in the market).


6.     Comincom

The company was founded in 1990 in Moscow by Orbita Bank, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Center of Data Transmitting Systems at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  It possesses its own international dialing codes (502), (504), and (506).  Comincom is the co-founder of several joint ventures in Russia.

Several years ago the company had 20 international payphones in St.Petersburg, which accepted Belgacom cards (Belgian telecommunication operator).  In 1998, Comincom reduced its number of payphones to 5.  However, in 1999 the St.Petersburg office of Comincom plans to increase the number of its payphones by adding 10 payphones from Belgacom.  Their plan envisages not just installation and maintenance of the payphone, but the creation of a small customer center, where the client will be able to buy a payphone card and send a fax or e-mail.  These centers will be established in the largest business centers and in the St.Petersburg Seaport.

7.     Lensvyaz

Lensvyaz was founded in 1926 and before 1994 was a 100 percent state-owned enterprise.  In 1994, it was transformed into Lensvyaz, JSC.  The shareholders of Lensvyaz are: Svyazinvest, Zolotoy Standart Bank, and Branswik Warburg Nominees.  Lensvyaz is the major public network operator in Leningrad oblast.  It provides local, international, and Internet services, as well as TV and radio broadcasting.

Lensvyaz operates 1,967 token payphones for local communications, 413 international payphones and 170 universal card phones (150 payphones manufactured by Urmet (Italy) and 20 manufactured in Russia).  The cost of each Urmet payphone is $1,500.  The payback period for these payphones was only 1-2 months. 

8.     Metrocom

Metrocom was founded in 1992 by St.Petersburg Metropoliten, the subway operator in St.Petersburg, and Andrew Corp., a U.S. manufacturer of telecommunication equipment.  Metrocom is the operator of the only optic fiber SDH telecommunication network.  This network was spread over 105 kilometers of St.Petersburg subway system.  Metrocom received a license from Goscomsvyaz for the installation of 500 payphones in St.Petersburg and the Leningrad region.  The company is planning to install 300 card phones by Urmet (Italy) for local and international calls and 130 token phones by Temsa (South Africa) for local calls.  The Temsa payphones are very popular among St.Petersburgers, since they provide change.  Urmet payphones are easy to adopt to accept any chip or credit card.

9.     St.Petersburg Payphones, JSC (SPP)

St.Petersburg Payphones, JSC (SPP) was founded in 1994 by Petersburg Telephone Network, St.Petersburg Trunk-Line and Long-distance Communication, Taksophon Partnership, Complus Holding S.A.(Luxemburg), Great Northern Telegraph Company and Monetel Nordic (Denmark).  The shares changed hands several times and currently, they belong to Telecominvest JSC, Great Northern Telegraph Company, and Ascom Nordic A/S (Denmark).

St.Petersburg Payphones, JSC is the largest card payphone operator in Russia.  It has 1,800 universal payphones accepting chip cards for local and long distance calls, which were manufactured by Ascom Nordic.  The cost of each payphone is $1,500.  In some places the company installs payphones where the services are free for the end-user.  Those are mainly hospitals and state agencies that just pay a monthly fee for payphones.  In 1996 SPP started installing payphones all over the Northwest region.  Currently, Ascom Nordic payphones work in Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Pskov, Novgorod, and Cherepovets.  The payphones themselves belong to local telecom companies, which bought them from Ascom Nordic directly, but they are operated by SPP.  The cards are purchased from SPP and are valid in all of the above mentioned cities.  The major card suppliers are: Schlumberger and Gemplus (France) and a Russian subsidiary of Giesecke & Devrient (Germany) in Perm.  In 1997 St.Petersburg Payphones JSC signed a contract with Orga Kartensysteme Gmbh for a supply of 250,000 payphone cards.

10.     St.Petersburg Trunk-Line and Long-distance Communication, JSC.

St.Petersburg Trunk Line and Long-distance Communication (SPTL LdC) is the largest long-distance service operator in St.Petersburg. It was founded in 1993 and currently its major shareholders are: Svyazinvest, Brunsweek Warburg Nominees, and Post Land Enterprises Ltd. 

The company's payphone network includes 715 subway token payphones manufactured in Russia.  However, during the last few years the volume of traffic through them has substantially decreased due to the increased number of card payphones operated by St.Petersburg Payphones, JSC.  In 1998 SPTL LdC, JSC decided to modernize its payphone network.  The plan calls for the installation of coin operated payphones.  After a search that was conducted by the company's specialist, SPTL LdC, JSC chose payphones manufactured by Landys & Gyr Communications (Switzerland).  These payphones appealed to SPTL LdC, JSC by their compact size and inexpensive price (about $ 1,000).  However, the economic crises of August 1999 postponed the company's plans for modernization.  Due to the ruble default, the ruble price for imported payphones increased by 4 times.  Additionally, the company is afraid that if the devaluation of the ruble continues, the current coins will not be enough to pay for a call.

11.  There are other companies that are planning to install payphones.  Among them are Sovintel, which still does not know if it wants to provide payphone services by itself or to hire a separate company that will operate payphones in St.Petersburg.  Global One is also considering the possibility of installing its payphones in St.Petersburg.

12.  The variety of telephone networks creates problems for end-users, which need to buy cards for several payphone operators. In order to solve this problem, operators are trying to establish a Russia-wide cross-billing of payphone cards.

The first step was made by St.Petersburg Payphones, JSC (SPP), who organized the cross-billing of payphone cards between several Northwest cities (St.Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Novgorod, Pskov, and Cherepovets).  Later SPP tried to organize cross-billing of payphone cards between SPP cards and Lensvyaz.  However, they postponed their plans due to the economic crises.

Nevertheless, SPP managed to agree with BCL about cross-billing of payphone cards.  The new Schlumberger payphones will accept the payphone cards issued by SPP and Ascom Nordic phones operated by SPP will accept BCL cards.

Currently, 216,000 payphones are located in Russia and SPP is trying to play the leading part in organizing cross-billing of payphone cards all over Russia.  Moscow-based company Incom is also trying to implement the same thing.  Incom has developed a program called "The United Payphones Map of Russia".  According to this program, Incom will lease payphones purchased from U.S. and Canadian firms and give them out to local operators for free.  The operators install the payphones and give a certain share of their profit to Incom.