The old British red phone boxes originally housed pay phones, but over the past couple of decades they have become obsolete. Most were removed, but a large amount have been renovated and given new lives. Some have been turned into solar charging stations, small neighborhood libraries and tiny office sheds.
The latest red box makeover is turning the old phone booths into smartphone repair shops. Phone repair company Lovefone are renovating 35 phone boxes, turning them into Lovefoneboxes where people can get their smartphones and tablets fixed, access free charging and free Wi-Fi. It’s a fitting transition as the ubiquitousness of cell phones is what caused the red boxes to become unnecessary.
Each 1-sq-m box will feature a workbench, a perforated wall panel and shelving for holding tools and an underfloor safe for guarding people’s devices as they await pick-up. They will each house six public charging stations so that the boxes are still serving the public as the old phone booths did.
The boxes are protected structures so no permanent changes can be made, but Lovefone is designing each slightly differently depending on its location and orientation. The company is keeping the glass windows so people can look inside, but are covering them with unbreakable polycarbonate sheets to safeguard the tools and devices inside along with locks for the doors. The boxes will also have CCTV for security.
The first repair booth opened up on Greenwich High Street in London this month and they aim to add another six in London soon, with a total of 35 coming to the city in the next 18 months. The company is also looking at franchise opportunities outside of London.