HALF of the UK’s remaining 40,000 telephone boxes are to be scrapped over the next five years.
BT, which runs and manages phone boxes, said they were too expensive to repair and maintain.
BT is instead focusing on keeping boxes in locations where people are more likely to use them.
In 1992, at their peak and before mobile phones became more popular, there were 92,000 of them in the UK.
They still handle around 33,000 calls a day, but one third of them are never used to make calls.
And it could be even harder to find an iconic red telephone box as only around 7,000 of the remaining 40,000 boxes are in the traditional style.
Of that number, 2,400 boxes are designated as grade 1 listed buildings, meaning they are protected.
The cost of maintaining payphones each year is around £2 million.
A BT spokesperson said: “BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade, we continue to review and remove payphones which are no longer used.”
The telecoms firm must follow rules set by the regulator Ofcom and seek the consent of the local authorities before removing one.
“In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone,” a spokesperson added.
“As an alternative to removal, we continue to actively promote the Adopt a Kiosk scheme to all councils whilst being committed to maintaining the payphones that remain. More than 4,000 kiosks have been adopted so far and transformed.”