North America

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1994 - Public card reader payphone in Tijuana.

Photo by Daniel Hank.

French Schlumberger Credit card phone at the Zocalo (like a town square but with the Catholic Church) downtown in Acapulco, Guererro, Mexico.
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Mexico City. Anritsu payphone
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Playa del Carmen Cancun Airport
Public coin phone Sign for public telephones Close-up of public phone
payphones are easily found in public spaces such as the plaza, bus stations, gas stations, and street corners. Getting yourself a map first, will be a big help to finding such locations in your travels. Most payphones require phone cards, although coins can still be used in phones sometimes found in restaurants and small stores. Phone cards are sold in pharmacies, magazine stands, small stores and supermarkets, and come in units of 30 and 50 pesos.

In cities and towns, there are small shops where there are as many as five telephones and a hired operator. It is possible to both make and receive calls at these centers. At the end of a call, the customer is presented with a bill, which is paid in cash. This method is often less expensive than a pay phone.

Home telephone service allows a specific number of calls. Once the limit has been reached, 2 pesos are charged for each new call. There are only a few international service companies. The service most commonly used is TELMEX, the national phone company.


The Communication Infrastructure
Through the years, Mexico's national operator Telmex has worked ambitiously on improving and developing the communicative infrastructure throughout the country. The network and services were to be improved, and one of the main objectives was the installation of at least one payphone in each Mexican village. Resolutely pointing to the future, Telmex has ordered some 50,000 Ascom payphones and around 130,000 telephone lines since 1993.

Mexican Deregulation
In 1998, Telmex faced a wave of deregulation. To be at the forefront of developments and to maintain its position as the leading operator in Mexico, Telmex placed a new order with Ascom for a staggering 30,000 terminals and an increase of the payphone management capacity of 120,000 lines.

The Ascom Management System
Telmex anticipated the soaring requirements of the future by ordering from Ascom Payphone & Multimedia Systems the most advanced payphone management system in the world. All payphones, chip cards systems and management systems are fully upgradable, thus prpared for the future. The management system is capable of handling more than 400,000 payphones and offers unique security on the payphones and especially on the telephone lines. The Ascom management system secures a high rate of return, and offers both technical and commercial operation of the entire network. Furthermore, downloading of the software on all these payphones avoids costly staff movements and highly time-consuming operations on the payphones.

The PMS 10 Connection Unit
A special feature of the newly developed solution worth to mention is the PMS 10 Connection Unit which offers the operator a number of unique advantages. Primarily, it offers maximum line security. Furthermore, the PMS 10 offers financial monitoring of all calls, authorisation of calls, and management of card black lists.

Flexibility and Future
The Mexican operator Telmex projects itself into the future - and wants a partner who thinks likewise. Ascom finalised the development of its on-line connection PMS10/8 unit in record time, providing a capacity of 8-16 terminals. This connection is capable of managing low-density payphone areas and will allow Telmex to lower equipment costs. Moreover, it played an important role that Ascom was able to meet the short delivery time required under the new Telmex contract.

All together, this project has proven that Ascom Payphone & Multimedia Systems is at the forefront of developments. Ascom developed a flexible solution, tailored to Mexican conditions and meeting the requirements, and has thereby fulfilled its mission; to help Telmex projecting itself into the future. Ascom simply put Telmex a step ahead in developing the communicative infrastructure throughout Mexico.null
The potential of wireless payphones were first spotted by telecommunication officials in developing countries, in which huge investments were needed to bring basic communication services to rural areas. The ability of wireless technology to span large geographic areas without the immense cost of burying cable makes financial sense. Existing cellular networks can be financially leveraged - - considering that the cost of 'superimposing' a wireless payphone system, running from US$1,000-2,000 (E1,045-2,090) per unit, is relatively negligible compared to the cost of burying cable.

The world's largest wireless payphone system can be found in Mexico. Swiss-based payphone manufacturer Ascom, working with Telmex, the national carrier, installed over 15,000 wireless payphones throughout the country. The phones work in conjunction with a wireless network that brings services to centralised 'telecentres' in villages nationwide without the expense of laying cable and wire into remote areas. The phones can be modified to accept a wide variety of different types of cards. Ascom has also delivered a payphone management system for the wireless payphones that is capable of handling more than 400,000 payphones and offers security and automatic software upgrades on the payphones.

In addition to expanded coverage, the wireless system allows TelCel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telmex, to have an advantage over new wireless competitors. "The rural telephone project will bring millions of people into the national network, many of whom will use a phone for the first time," says Gilles Gauthier, Product Manager of Ascom's GSM Payphones. The current teledensity in Mexico (phone-lines per 100 persons) is ten.

Over the last several years, wireless payphones have also found a lucrative market in major metropolitan cities, especially where competition is high. New wireless service providers see wireless payphones as a way to expand their business by adding public access to their networks. Those who do not own mobile phones can buy prepaid cellular airtime cards and place calls over the wireless network from public wireless payphones. Furthermore, wireless is faster and less costly to deploy. New wireless and telephone service providers can avoid the huge expense of digging up streets and burying cable. "Anytime when the cost of deploying new service is high, wireless is always more economical," claims Michael Boyle, president of Elcotel Telecommunications, a US payphone provider.

Anritsu received orders for 37,000 IC-card payphones from Telmex, the Mexican

Telephone company set up jointly with Marubeni Corporation, which are scheduled to be

supplied in fiscal 1997. These IC-card payphones operate in combination with monitor-ing

systems placed in offices. This system guarantees the highest security in the world.

The orders resulted from the high quality and easy maintenance of Anritsu

payphones, which were thoroughly evaluated by Telmex, and we expect to receive

many more orders from them in the future.