ThoughtPhreaker

The Payphones

25 posts in this topic

Around here, a lot of the COCOT operators really dominate the business, so ACTS phones are kinda rare towards the more suburban areas. If you make a move towards the urban areas, there's significantly more telco-owned phones, but still not as many as there are COCOTs. Funny, too, considering the neighboring states have ACTS phones running around all over the plaec. Having been around the US a bit, I can tell you that one of the coolest places for payphones I've seen so far is DC -- it's painted with tons and tons of ACTS phones. I've personally seen a bank of about five booths, or ten stand-up enclosures in a few places. These aren't the metal booths without doors or anything either; these booths don't fool around. They're made entirely out of wood, have working doors, lights, and even seats. There's been times when I've been visiting DC that I've sat there for a good hour or two dialing non-stop.

Anyway, though, how's things holding up in the state you're in?

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Well, I know this is not the USA, but over in the UK, payphones are still holding up (albeit where I live the local youths seem to find them excellent targets for vandalism and fireworks :.

We still have quite a few of the old Mk2 payphones with the 'follow on call' button underneath the receiver, these are allegedly red boxable with the international operator (I've never succesfully tried this), Aside from that we have a few "internet kiosks" where you get web access etc for a set fee at the payphone (its a win2k box linked via a LAN to the exchange iirc) a friend of mine found one open Click here to look at his findings

Aside from that they are still going strong in this country, I even found one in one of those old Red phone boxes, still active and going :).

On a further note, where I like the payphones still have the old 17070 line test options including the ring back test ;) and on an even further note 17099 works still as well (its a 999 or 911 as you guys have it over there backdoor)

We have fair smattering of COCOTS about, the most notable being the BT Contour 100 and 200 series, they all have default admin passwords, if you google a little it takes next to nothing to find them (I won't post on here to prevent fraud accusations)

RP

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Around my area, the northern chicago suburbs, all of the BOCOTS are completely gone. However, there are some hybrids/halfbreeds (Im not sure which), mostly owned by Pacific Telemanegement Serivices that you can still get an ACTS prompt off of. There are also a lot of COCOTS in my area, and I think I might like them beter than ACTS phones. The Express Telephone Systems COCOTS are ridiculously easy to get an unrestricted dialtone off of, and another one connects you to an absolutely awesome test number with *15.

By the way, does anyone know anything about Pacific Telemanagement Services payphones? They have no manuals accessible on their website without logging in.

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Here in Cincinnati (LATA 922) most of the payphones are Cincinnati Bell payphones and they are still relatively plentiful. Though newly built building are being built with no payphones.

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In northern Virginia, you can still find Verizon payphones, both CO controlled and COCOTS. Most of the COCOTS were installed in former GTE/Contel territory prior to the merger of BA and GTE in 2000.

Over time, either the Verizon phones have been either removed or sold off to another company and are replaced with COCOTS.

This past December I was in Florida near Fort Myers (United/Sprint/Embarq). They still had pay phones, but they were all COCOTS. None were CO controlled payphones. Near Tampa area (between Orlando and Tampa off of I-4) GTE/Verizon still had CO controlled pay phones at the rest stop.

Payphones are a dying breed. About a year ago I purchased an AE single slot payphones (did a ton of phreaking on them as a teenager) off of eBay. Also purchased a Northern Telecom Centurion. Need to take pictures of their insides and post them on Telephone World... :)

It is sad how the payphone, the one tried and true phreaking tool while you visit a town, is slowly disappearing. Sad, very sad. :(

Edited by dmine45
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To be fair, Sprint Local/Centel/United/Embarq/that big independent phone company did away with ACTS in the early 90's or so in favor of COCOTs. As for the Northern Virginia area, I'm a little surpirsed to hear that they're doing badly. The last time I was up in Vienna, around summer 2007 or so, the payphones there showed no sign of giving up. I remember seeing multiple hybrid banks running around, as well as your occasional Millenium or straight up ACTS phone. That's one of the biggest things I remember that stood out about the area -- no matter where I went, it seemed like I'd never have to go out of my way to pick up a payphone handset.

We still have quite a few of the old Mk2 payphones with the 'follow on call' button underneath the receiver, these are allegedly red boxable with the international operator (I've never succesfully tried this), Aside from that we have a few "internet kiosks" where you get web access etc for a set fee at the payphone (its a win2k box linked via a LAN to the exchange iirc) a friend of mine found one open Click here to look at his findings

I remember someone I used to know made a recording once of a BT payphone, and it was faintly audible, but there were beep tones every time you'd put a coin in, so it's very well possible that there's something out there that still uses them. I've thought about scanning the British network sometime, it seems like there really isn't much exploration being done on that particular front.

Edited by ThoughtPhreaker
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I remember someone I used to know made a recording once of a BT payphone, and it was faintly audible, but there were beep tones every time you'd put a coin in, so it's very well possible that there's something out there that still uses them. I've thought about scanning the British network sometime, it seems like there really isn't much exploration being done on that particular front.

The British phreaking scene isn't as "popular" for want of a better word as the American phreaking scene, there are a few of us still here, I recently scanned an 0800 (which is your equivelant on 1800), in our ranges such as the 0800 890 **** range we have a lot of foreign terminations, these include, Croatia, Bahamas (which was C5 until last November :() and tons of other countries.But like I said there are still a few of us knocking about, maybe if there's an interest I'll paste some of my scans of the 020* area (which is the London NPA), if you do scan feel free to give me a shout I'll point you in the right direction :)

Anyway going back on topic our in-land operators don't accept cash for in-land calls, and nor do we get an ACTS prompt so that leaves that possibility out but as recently as 2006 people were able to red box calls on 155 which is the international operator, as far as I am aware the Mk2 payphones are the only ones red boxable, I may be wrong on this.

IMG_0064.JPG

phonebox_webbed.jpg

I know these are not very clear but thats what a Mk2 Payphone looks like, they've been about as far as I can remember tbh

if you want any infoz on stuff feel free to pm me

RP

Edit: typo's

Edited by radio_phreak
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I live in Sioux Falls South Dakota, and a majority of the payphones are Qwest owned. There are a handful of COCOT's scattered around in restaurants and gas stations. I have 3 phones within a block of my house, two are street corner qwest phones, and one's a COCOT located in a Burger King. For a long while the Qwest BOCOT's were falling into pretty serious dis-repair. I figured Qwest just abandoned them because I don't live in the most upscale area, but within the last 8 months they installed new phones. I have no idea what they are, they look for the most part like BOCOTs/COCOTs but they have a small digital screen. I've seen pics of hybrids, but it doesn't really look like any I've seen.

I've never really messed with them, mainly because I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

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The last payphone I "used" didn't work. I haven't seem a working payphone in a long time. All of the payphones in my area(UK) are vandalized. :(

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The landscape of payphones has changed dramatically over the past year where I live. At&t yanked about 50% of its BOCOT telephones including the elimination of the only two phone booths that still existed in Akron. I used to have about ten payphones within walking distance of my house an now I only have one. Another 90% of remaining payphones have been re christened as COCOTs.

I'm hoping that some of my more favored payphones will not get yanked anytime soon. <_<

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i'm in a similar situation as t3st.s3t

here near Youngstown, OH,

it's COCOTs as far as the eye can see

however in west virginia, i have

found verizon CO-controlled phones

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The phones in my town aren't holding up too great :( Only 14 co-controlled payphones remain in my town, and 6 of those are on the school complex. Out of those 14, most of them have something noticeably wrong with them that prevents you from making a call or hearing who you're speaking with. Aside from slapping Windstream stickers over the Alltel logos on the coin vaults, they payphones have been completely neglected. Lately, people have been slamming the receivers against the enclosure, causing the microphone-end to break off and dangle by wires. Those damned kids just did it to the payphone at Burger King, and that was the only payphone that had absolutely nothing wrong with it. Windstream stopped providing regional ACTS, which furthers my suspicion that they don't care about their payphones anymore. When Wal Mart ditched their old COCOT provider, they got Windstream COCOTS, which makes sense since the ACTS have little use. Judging from using the phones in other Windstream towns, it's not just my area that's being neglected, it's all of them.

Aside from Windstream phones, there's some COCOTS around here, but not that many.

In nearby Verizon land, there's tons of co-controlled phones, which are all kept in very good shape, and get repaired when they are in need of repair. There's definitely more Verizon phones than COCOTS.

Down in Pittsburgh, there's Verizon co-controlled phones everywhere on the streets and inside buildings. Almost every single one accepts incoming calls. There's no BOCOTS (I think that's a good thing), and no Hybrids either.

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Wow, I guess AT&T really means it when they say they want to pull out of the payphone business o_O . I recently took a trip to Northern California, where as I remember as of 2005-ish, it's hard to go a few city blocks, even in really small towns without seeing an ACTS phone. Not now, though. Oh, the phones are still physically there, and everything. The same Western Electric housings, some of the enclosures still have the Pacific Bell logo on them, too. All of them I saw except for seven are COCOTs now.

Sad.

Yeah, it's better than no payphones at all, but COCOTs are only so much fun. With a COCOT, there's some things on the switch, such as recordings, or just the sound of dialtone coming on that make things a colossal pain in the ass, if not impossible to get. Not to mention the charges for numbers that should be free. Want to use the ringback circuit? Well, shit, mothefucker, it's fifty cents. Good luck flashing, too. Need to dial an ANAC? Better hope it's toll-free, because if it's not, it's fifty cents. Want to dial operator? Well, fuck you, you're getting whatever carrier we redirect you to. Oh, right, carrier access codes don't work here, either, because the moron programming the phone thinks they're used for toll fraud.

Did I mention a lot of COCOTs are famous for eating your money on calls that don't go through?

One last thought, the seven AT&T phones I saw lying around were all hybrids. Does anybody else think this is because of some obligation to Phone1 on some level? It's always possible, too, that they're simply around because they're much more revenue-producing.

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I was in San Diego a few months ago and found only a handful of AT&T (SBC/Pac Bell) pay phones. They were hybrid phones (part regular for local, part COCOT for LD). But on my last visit in April of 2008, the few I had seen the previous December were already gone.

They really are trying to get out of the pay phone biz. I guess the only old Baby Bell telcos who still have pay phones are Qwest and Verizon?

Verizon still has a number of regular (central office controlled) pay phones. I live in former Bell Atlantic territory, but the ratecenters next to me on the north, east and west are old GTE/Contel. Most of the pay phones that are remaining are not the old AE/GTE pay phones anymore. A good number of these have been changed out to Western Electric type housings. Of course, there are a lot fewer of these as well. But it is just odd when you pick up the receiver and find the phone attached to a DMS-100 instead of a 5ESS! :)

There are a few areas in old non-NYNEX BA areas that were DMS-100, but most are either 5ESS or EWSD.

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Here in Albany, Oregon we have about as many pay phones here as we did 10 years ago. Not only pay phones, but lots of actual phone booths. Most of them are Qwest phones, but I occasionally spot a Cocot. The only place that pay phones have really disappeared is in the mall.

I have no idea why pay phones are surviving here so well. We do have a pretty large homeless population here, so that could have something to do with it. But then again, even homeless people have cell phones. So who knows.

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All verizon phones in my area are still vulnerable to red boxing the operator.

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All verizon phones in my area are still vulnerable to red boxing the operator.

You can only red box calls within your own LATA, since that is handled by a Verizon DMS-200 TOPS and served by Verizon LD. Calls outside your own LATA were until 2002-2003 timeframe served by AT&T's OSPS. AT&T got out of the pay phone LD biz. So you can't red box to places outside your LATA anymore.

Some Verizon pay phones (usually the ones with yellow receivers) are COCOTs or COCOT hybrids where you can make LD calls, but you can't red box to those either.

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Most of our payphones are at&t with a couple of COCOTs. they are trying to take them out. Failing mostly. They just put in 3 new ones at a local grocery store that had none before. Going to have to go play with them some. Sucks that they are going the way of the taradactul. Such gentle creatures.

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The three functional payphones in my basement hackerlab are working just fine...

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You can only red box calls within your own LATA, since that is handled by a Verizon DMS-200 TOPS and served by Verizon LD. Calls outside your own LATA were until 2002-2003 timeframe served by AT&T's OSPS. AT&T got out of the pay phone LD biz. So you can't red box to places outside your LATA anymore.

In parts of some Qwest states, most notably Iowa and Minnesota, they'll actually have a 5E running OSPS instead of a DMS-200 with TOPS. It's probably no different, what with offering calls only within the LATA, but I'm betting it's going to sound a bit different. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they just had hardware modules that added ACTS support to the 4Es?

http://www.qwest.com/cgi-bin/iconn/iconn_t...m.pl?function=2

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In parts of some Qwest states, most notably Iowa and Minnesota, they'll actually have a 5E running OSPS instead of a DMS-200 with TOPS. It's probably no different, what with offering calls only within the LATA, but I'm betting it's going to sound a bit different. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they just had hardware modules that added ACTS support to the 4Es?

That is true - US West (Qwest) sometimes uses OSPS instead of TOPS. OSPS is an added feature of 5ESS switches to handle operator services functions, not 4ESS.

But I would believe it is the same - you can only call LD from a traditional pay phone via local TOPS or OSPS to other phone numbers in your own LATA.

These days, do LATAs really matter anymore? Food for thought.

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New York City has an interesting situation...

A ton of dead payphones. Upon calling repair, sometimes a repairman will go out there and sometimes one won't. I'm getting the feeling Verizon stopped caring about their payphones, especially in the bad neighborhoods.

About a year ago, I-BaLL and I were messing with a Verizon payphone when a man goes up to the payphone next us with and begins shoving a long metal wire down the coin slot. We got into a conversation with him and it turns out, somehow (I don't quite remember how he described the process) this was supposed to get coins out of the coinbox? Seemed very strange to me. Apparently theres a pay phone theft scene around here. Kinda neat ;).

edit: Almost forgot... Theres a mystery neither I-BaLL or I can figure out around here. Many payphones in my area and other select areas of the city have their keypads blown out. Clean gone. All that's left are a few wires which are sometimes tied together. I've seen a few payphones where it seems as though the keypad removal process was unsuccessful; it's just full of dents and/or burn marks. I'm wondering why someone would be doing this? Maybe somebody hates Verizon? :P Disgrunted employee!

I've also seen payphones with specifically tip and ring wires exposed and cut. Makes me think people beige off of them.

Gotta love big cities.

Edited by DeadlyCypher
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