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Telecom Launches New Payphone Network

The first of Telecom's 6,500 new Payphones are being installed today, offering customers technologically advanced, easy-to-use phones with a variety of payment options.

The distinctive new blue and yellow Payphones will take many types of cards - PhoneCards, credit cards, Telecom TalkAway Cards and Telecom Calling Cards. Some will also take coins as well.

"Our existing Payphones have served us well for nearly 10 years, but this type of phone is no longer manufactured and they have become difficult to maintain," Telecom's National Manager Payphones, Bruce Buddicom said.

"Telecom is investing in new Payphones to meet demand for additional phones and to provide customers with a better service. We've taken the opportunity to buy a new network of Payphones that will see us well into the new millennium.

"We're confident our customers will find the new Payphones reliable, convenient and easy to use."

The new network will have over 1,500 additional Payphones available throughout the country, making a total of 6,500 in all.

The new Payphones can display calling instructions in English, Maori, Samoan and Tongan. For the convenience of international customers, instructions will also be available in Japanese.

Features to assist people with special needs have been incorporated into the new phones. These include a back-lit display at night, larger screen characters and numbers, larger keys, and inductive couplers in the ear-pieces for hearing aid compatibility.

PhoneCards using chip technology will operate in the new network. Instead of a magnetic strip on the rear of the cards, the new cards will have a gold chip on the top face.

They will come in the same denominations as the old cards, and can be purchased at the same Telecom Cards to Go retailers. Initially they will come in one design only, to clearly distinguish them from the old cards, but a range of designs will soon be introduced.

The new Payphone management system provides a platform for exciting new services like PC connection for data transfer. Five hundred new indoor Payphones will offer modem access.

After the installation of the new Payphones is completed in late September, some old CardPhones will be left around the country until the end of the year. These will offer customers with old magnetic strip cards the opportunity to use up their unused credits. All old type CardPhones will cease to operate before the start of 2000.

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