Mobile phones may have made telephone boxes obsolete, but now a British company is hoping to give them a new lease of life.
Mobile repair shop Lovefone is opening up a series of the world’s tiniest repair shops inside the traditional British red telephone booths.
The company recently opened its second booth on Brompton Road in Knightbridge, following a Greenwich launch last August.
The phone box repair shops offer a range of standard electronics repair services, as well free mobile phone charging and WiFi.
The aim is to have 35 locations in London over the next 18 months, with franchise opportunities available outside London.
“The idea came from a meeting I had at Virgin startup’s offices where there was a red phone box repurposed for private Skype calls,” said Rober Kerr, chief executive at Lovefone.
“The minute I went inside I knew it would be perfect for iPhone repairs and would be a great way to bring these neglected structures back into public service.
“I scanned the internet and found Red Kiosk who have been buying them from BT and putting coffee shops in them.
“We snapped up one in Greenwich which had A1 planning and ran a proof of concept. The community loved it and we’re now rolling out across London.”
Kerr said the most challenging aspect of the project is getting high quality technicians to work inside a phone box.
“As you can imagine a one metre square workspace is not the typical work environment,” he said.
“Nonetheless we’ve recruited some brave slender souls who are working away and enjoying it (apart from when it rains).”
The telephone boxes are equipped with a custom made pod that has CCTV, Internet, charging bays, temperature control and an iPad.
When business slows down at certain times of the day, Lovefone’s technicians refurbish iPhones, which they sell online.
“We also rotate the technicians to our main shop each week so they keep their sanity intact,” said Kerr.
Lovefone now owns the sole rights to the repair concept, and it is working with Red Kiosk to roll out miniature repair shops in Holborn, Hampstead, Richmond, Kensington and Westminster.
“No one need ever wait 4 days for an appointment at the Apple store ever again,” said Kerr.