BT to turn payphones into digital hubs with USB charging for mobile phones

By Adrian Vincent - 28 Mar 2024, 16:18 BT to turn payphones into digital hubs with USB charging for mobile phones

BT have announced that they will turn over 2,000 existing payphones into new digital hubs. The new hubs, called Street Hubs 2, will cover more than 200 towns and cities across the UK, delivering a range of benefits, including free public WiFi, USB charging and 4G and 5G coverage.

BT’s 959 existing digital hubs, called Street Hubs, will continue as is, providing free WiFi and mobile coverage.

The conversion is expected to be completed over a 10 year period from 2025, and will be done in partnership with Global, a media and entertainment company.

The new Street Hubs 2 will deliver a range of benefits to local communities, including:

  • Free public WiFi with speeds up to 1Gbps within a 150 metre radius
  • 4G and 5G coverage to all new and existing EE customers (likely also including MVNOs powered by EE)
  • A dedicated button for calling 999 in an emergency
  • Free USB charging for mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other devices
  • Touch-screen with interactivity for live public information and announcements from local councils
  • Digital advertising platforms (arguably not a benefit, we might add)

In 2023, BT had 18,215 payphones across the UK, many of which in dire disrepair - 5,447 were faulty or damaged, and 4,275 were not in working condition at all. As only around 2,000 of these payphones will be turned into the new Street Hubs 2, it is not known what will happen to the remaining payphones. Perhaps that will continue to rot or be knocked down.

About the author

Adrian Vincent is the founder and senior editor at CompareDial. He is a renowned expert in all things related to mobile phones, and is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to helping consumers find the best contract deals. His expertise is widely recognised, with citations from leading news organisations and tech publications. Adrian is dedicated to guiding users through the complexities of the phone contract market, ensuring they receive unparalleled advice and secure the best value for their money.