with thanks to Mehran Roshandel

A history of the private Interphone payphone service in the UK.


Interphone: End of the line

Pictured below are the remains of probably the last Interphone telephone box on a street. The kiosk is in Brighton. The phone was removed a few years ago possibly by Infolines or Infocus for use in the newer black kiosks in other cities somewhere. The kiosk is derelict after Ofcom stripped Infolines of its licence and went into voluntary liquidation. I did make Infocus aware of this site some time ago but nothing has become of the site as yet.

Interphone kiosk is in BrightonInterphone kiosk is in Brighton

The Interphone Story

Many Interphone kiosks have been replaced with the black MVM 1000's used by Spectrum Interactive. Others have been removed by local authorities.

There is a site for MVM: www.mvm-uk.com

They are the main manufacturers of kiosks for Spectrum Interactive and also manufacture vending machines.

Brief history of interphone:

Interphone was the street payphone division of IPM Communications/IPM Group UK and tended to replace Mercury. The company installed kiosks up until 1999 when the company decided it wasn't making enough money.  In 2000, IPM sold it's UK sector to Infolines Limited and Interphone became a part of Infolines, the new owners did install a few more kiosks bringing it to a total of 1,400 street payphones. Infolines also owned Premier Managed payphones Limited which operates over 1,670 payphones at internal sites. In 2001 Infolines Limited went into liquidation and all assets went to Premier Managed payphones, Premier managed payphones became an independent company and sold Interphone to a company called Central Payphones, the company traded interphone independently as Interphone Public Networks limited until the company ran out of money and sold most assets to Spectrum Interactive, other assets have gone into liquidation.

Central payphones and Infolines public networks merged in may 2005 and were purchased by 4 Kiosk Solutions.

The Interphone kiosks in Northern Ireland were sold to Europayphone Limited in 2001 by Premier Managed payphones and traded as Interphone until earlier this year when the company rebranded the kiosks into yellow livery.

Nigel styne the managing director of Infolines Premier and Interphone in 2001 said 'it's no longer viable to offer street payphone services due to increased usage of mobiles. 

IPM stopped maintaining the loss making payphones or kiosks which were vandalised frequently in 1999 and in 2004, the kiosks had become totally dilapidated. In Brixton,south London, The local council boarded the interphone kiosks up because of the homeless and drug users using the kiosks.

IPM designed these kiosks and were a terrible design, the phones constantly broke down and the kiosks were easily vandalised. Today, IPM distributes it's equipment and products via Premier managed payphones limited.

These interphone kiosks are located at Euston Road, London,NW1.

There aren't many Interphone kiosks left.

Spectrum (New World/NWP Spectrum) purchased 1,000 kiosks in August 2004 from Interphone Public Networks. 750 of these were replaced with black MVM 1000's. The rest were decommisioned and removed.

However, 187 were retained by Central Payphones after Interphone Public Networks went into liquidation and these kiosks are mostly located outside of London.

In May 2005, Central payphones went into liquidation and all assets were recieved by infolines.Infolines Public Networks was purchased by 4 Kiosk Solutions Limited.

All of the remaining 187 kiosks of infolines were maded redundant when Central payphones went into liquidation.

The dark picture is a kiosk operated by interphone/infolines in Biggin Hill, Kent and the hooded kiosk next to a bin is in perrymount road in Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH16 3DT.

The black kiosks are spectrum interactives and have replaced interphone kiosks all over london and glasgow.

Northern ireland interphone kiosks were taken over by Europayphone several years ago.

IPM's interphone kiosks were a very bad design and were easily vandalised. IPM left the UK and interphone to infolines limited, the kiosks in 2000 had became dilapidated. Infolines limited also owned premier managed payphones. in 2001, Infolines Limited went into liquidation and premier managed payphones recieved all assets, Interphone was soon sold to Central Payphones limited now trading as infolines public networks and owned by 4 Kiosk Solutions. In May 2002, interphone traded independently as interphone public networks, in 2004 interphone public networks sold 750 assets to NWP Spectrum now trading as Spectrum interactive. All interphone assets non-sold to spectrum have been disclaimed.

4 Kiosk solutions have purchased Infolines Public Networks with it's 1,000 internal payphones. 187 of the retained interphone kiosks have recently been disclaimed.

Note: Infolines Limited/Infolines Premier is a very seperate company to Infolines Public Networks and has nothing to do with each other. Premier managed payphones are still in business operating hospital entertainment facilities and internal payphones in over 70 NHS and private hospitals in the UK. 

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Page last updated: 20th April 2016