PhoneBoy asks this question (link below). Indeed, I think the folks who have been ramping down their phonebooth assets were so narrow-minded (as in 'phone booth are for folks who need a to place a call and do not have a phone') that they blew a golden opportunity.
In telecomms, one perennial battle is for locations to put stuff - poles and pipes for wires, plots of land for towers and dishes, rights-of-way for repair trucks, and little squares of sidewalk for phone booths.
About two years ago I came up with some (IMHO) great ideas on how to use phone booth. For starters, there is still a place for them everywhere for quiet space for the talker or for peace for those around the talker. Indeed, on some Finnish trains there are phone booth for folks to use with their mobile so as not to disturb the passenger. I use it all the time for privacy.
It take no genius to realize what one can do with a booth if someone is sitting there for 3 minutes or more (and PhoneBoy is asking the right questions). It can also be a booth for offering other services, such as booth-only WiFi (to make the person come into the booth), or directory information.
The hard part of setting up a service like that today is securing the little plot of sidewalk. But the phone booth guys already had all that: location, a wire coming in, electricity.
And the telcos and their partners blew it all thinking that we don't need phone booths anymore.
Maybe instead of ripping out the hardwired phones from these phone booths, maybe they can leave them there as a reminder of days gone by or for those times when you need a little bit of piece and quiet when you’re trying to make a call? Or better yet, turn them into pico cells for the mobile network operators?