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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Exhibitor-owned payphone question: (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Exhibitor-owned payphone question:
Jack Ondracek
Film God

Posts: 2312
From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
Registered: Oct 2002


 - posted 07-30-2003 08:51 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An internet-based phone company is offering a flat-rated business line, with unlimited local AND long distance service for about $50 per month.

In a pay phone application, you could do the "5 minutes for a buck" and literally keep all the money, not to mention being able to do local service just about any way you wanted.

Operator service is programmed into the phone, and doesn't care what kind of line is connected to it.

Anyone think of a reason why this couldn't be done?

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Bill Enos
Film God

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From: Richmond, Virginia, USA
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 - posted 07-31-2003 12:17 AM      Profile for Bill Enos   Email Bill Enos   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would probably work provided they don't have a prohibition on reselling the service in the contract. Then, how would the provider know?

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

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From: Toronto, Canada
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 - posted 07-31-2003 02:01 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would worry about the long distance - a normal phone line, even with USA long distance included, will still let me call Guam if I want and that isn't going to be included in the plan.
These coinbox phones are very popular in the rest of the world, but just starting to appear in the US and Canada. Most countries I've seen them in have normal lines for internal calls only though, and one must search for a phone - or phone booth - that can call outside the country. Some places you have to go to a special office and ask at a desk for them to make an international call, then they tell you to go to a numbered phone box... quite inconvenient!

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Leo Enticknap
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From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 07-31-2003 06:02 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting... over here the growth of mobile 'phones has all but killed off payphones. 'Phone booths on public streets (like the one in Joel Schumacher's recent film) are still to be seen (because the government regulator of the telecommunications industry forces British Telecom to keep running them), but in a move to cut down vandalism, coin-operated ones have all disappeared: they'll only take credit or debit cards. In restaurants, cinemas, railway stations and the like land-line payphones are pretty much gone now.

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Don Bruechert
Mmmmmmmmm, bird!

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From: Manitowoc, WI, USA
Registered: Jan 2003


 - posted 07-31-2003 07:10 PM      Profile for Don Bruechert   Author's Homepage   Email Don Bruechert   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We have a payphone in our lobby that we own. We charge 35 cents for a local call. It came from payphone.com and cost $199. It works rather nicely and easily pays for the phone line it is connected to (which is shared with the fax and our office). The only issue we've had is when peiple put pennies in it and plug it up. Then we just take it off the wall and shake it out and we're right back in business.

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 08-01-2003 01:25 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A full-sized commercial payphone such as the Elcotel/Quortech series 5 has many built-in and programmable dialed number blocking & re-routing features. Today's modern 'smart' payphones contain advanced circuit boards where complete area codes (such as for Guam) can be blocked/restricted/rerouted if the phone owner desires. Phones can even be programmed to block all calls except for 911 emergency calls between certain hours and/or days of the week. The Elcotel "Payphone Network Manager" (or PNM for short) computer program allows the phone owner to configure/program/re-route/block.

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Gerard S. Cohen
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 08-01-2003 06:53 PM      Profile for Gerard S. Cohen   Email Gerard S. Cohen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The UA Continental 3 flagship theatre (now a GAP jeans store) had a private company coin pay phone in its lounge, but it charged double rate for information and double or triple rate for calls and would not allow incoming calls. Patrons (?) were so infuriated that they three times ripped the phone off the wall, each time leaving a larger hole, since each restoration used more secure mounting bolts.

Finally the management quit and left no means of calling taxis
during rainstorms, nor ability for patrons to call their babysitters at home. [This was before cellphones.]

Sometimes the attempt to fleece the public backfires. Greed seldom pays...

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Ken Layton
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From: Olympia, Wash. USA
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 - posted 08-02-2003 12:51 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some private payphone vending companies do have inflated charges tacked on, while many others do not. What Jack was thinking of doing would be to operate the payphone himself and not have a vender do it. That way he can set the prices to be charged and not be at the mercy of another company.

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Jeff Taylor
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From: Chatham, NJ/East Hampton, NY
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 - posted 08-05-2003 08:56 AM      Profile for Jeff Taylor   Email Jeff Taylor   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For our Malls and theaters we still go with a private payphone service that pays us 50% of the "take". I'm sure you could get cute and earn a bit more, but when you consider the hassle the deal sounds pretty good.

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Ken Layton
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From: Olympia, Wash. USA
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 - posted 08-05-2003 09:59 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jeff:

That's right---there are many well run private payphone venders out there that do a good job and pay you better commisions (some even have better service) than the local Bell payphone company. They own, operate, install, and repair the payphone at no cost to you. Of course you can always buy your payphone and operate it yourself, too, if desired. Regal Cinemas operates their own payphones in many (but not all) of their theaters under their KPV Payphones division (surprisingly located in Knoxville, Tenn.). Roughly 75% of the Regals here in western Washington have their own KPV payphones installed, with the other 25% using either another payphone company or qwest providing the payphones.

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Jack Ondracek
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From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
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 - posted 08-05-2003 12:37 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Much of this comes, not from an overriding desire to make my fortune in the payphone business, but to avoid dealing with Qwest, if at all possible.

We asked them about installing a phone outside our theatre. This place is in a small stripmall-type location. It has several businesses that are public oriented (if not exactly theatre friendly). When Regal pulled up stakes (and their phones) we were left with only one payphone... at the opposite end of the block.

Qwest wanted something like $600 to install one phone. Then, they wanted me to pay them $50/month while they would collect all the take and determine if the phone made an average of $4/day. We're talking 8 calls here.

[Mad] [fu] [bs] [sex] [Mad] [puke]

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Jeff Taylor
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From: Chatham, NJ/East Hampton, NY
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 - posted 08-05-2003 01:41 PM      Profile for Jeff Taylor   Email Jeff Taylor   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
FWIW: We only got into using a private payphone service when the "Bell's" started yanking out our phones for low volume. I admit that the day of the pay phone is over courtesy cell phones--I can't remember when I used a pay phone last--but when you're operating a public facility you still have to have them.

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Mike Williams
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From: Knoxville, TN
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 - posted 08-05-2003 02:20 PM      Profile for Mike Williams   Email Mike Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you install one of those cell phone jammers in your building, (to keep people from using them in the auditorium) a pay phone might work out pretty well. [Big Grin]

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Paul G. Thompson
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From: Mount Vernon WA USA
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 - posted 08-07-2003 01:56 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As I understand it from my boss, we wanted to have a pay phone installed in one of our theatres. That didn't happen because the telephone service provider 'didn't think they could make any money on it.'

I know of a business that purchased a pay phone and connected it to their business line. Perfectly legal, as I understand. If the customer wanted to make a call, they would simply drop in 2 bits and dial away. Naturally, the phone was set up for local calls only.

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Jack Ondracek
Film God

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From: Port Orchard, WA, USA
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 - posted 08-07-2003 02:34 AM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK... here's what I've come up with.

Vonage Holdings, Inc operates an IP based telephone service. If you're in an area where local numbers are available, and if you have cable internet service (or DSL), you can dump your local phone company and use this outfit. They offer several packages, including both residential and business offerings that include unlimited local and long distance usage for a flat rate.

I recently opened an account with them & have tried the service on various internet connections. It doesn't like ISDN much, but works very well with DSL and cable services. I spent over 40 minutes on a call to Florida (from Washington) and the person I called couldn't tell the difference. I just plugged their Cisco box into my router, plugged a phone into the box & away it went.

The local phone companies probably have a point, that pay phone usage has dropped due to the proliferation of cell phones. However, it's premature to dump the idea of payphones altogether, especially in a theatre, where kids are expected to call Mommy for a ride home.

It looks to me like the service would work with one of the pay phones that Ken has mentioned, since they are compatible with standard loop-start pots lines. At $.35 per call, it would take 5 local calls per day to pay off the line... less than 4 if you charged .50/call. You could also do the "5 minutes for a buck" long distance and keep the whole buck for calls in the US and Canada. Some of the phones accept credit/debit cards.

The pay phone company offers an operator service that might not get a lot of use, but will pay a commission on any connects they make.

So far, this sounds like a pretty reasonable way to go, if you don't necessarily insist the phone company needs to do this for you.

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