Public call office

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A public call office in Auroville, India

A public call office (PCO) is a telephone facility located in a public place in India and Pakistan. It is also another name in the United Kingdom for a public telephone box (postal addresses for these kiosks sometimes include "PCO").

In India[edit]

Public call office in India

In India, manned and automated (coin operated payphone) versions of the service are in existence. BSNL, a public sector corporation, has the largest installation of PCOs in India. Mr. R. L. Dube, a Deptt Of Telecom officer, introduced concept of PCO's in India. As of 2006 there were about 4,199,157 PCOs operating in India, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).[1]

Private sector operators such as Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom, Hutch, Idea and Airtel predominantly are prepaid PCO providers and have a moderate number of PCOs in the public landscape.

There are two types of PCOs landline and wireless. There are Landlline PCOs and Wireless PCOs. They use 2 kinds of technology- CDMA and GSM. Reliance and Tata Indicom are CDMA based prepaid PCO connection providers and Airtel, Idea and Hutch are GSM based prepaid PCO connection providers. initially Department of Telecom of Central government and later BSNL and MTNL and Airtel provide fixed landline postpaid PCO connections. BSNL and MTNL also provide prepaid PCOs.

PICoF (Public Internet Café on Fiber)

In BSNL, which is the largest public sector telecom company of India, its Bhopal Unit has for the first time started an Internet Café on Optical Fiber. On 18.08.2013, at Neelbadh locality of Bhopal, MP, India, the Chief General Manager of MP Unit of BSNL, Mr. N.K.Yadav and Mr. Mahesh Shukla, Sr. General Manager of Bhopal Unit inaugurated "PICoF" (Public Internet Café on Fiber) at the shop of Mr Deepak Verma, who was earlier running internet café on a Broadband Connection taken on copper lines.

The concept of Internet Café is similar to Public Call Office where needy customers come for internet use on payment basis. The concept has lot of utility and value in developing countries like India, Pakistan where everyone can not afford a computer and a Broadband Connection. Many customers are illiterate and they take the help of café owner for internet use.

In Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistan, PCOs are provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL), Dancom, Worldcall, and Telecard, amongst others. These companies usually provide calling-card-based domestic and international telecom services.

PCO in USA[edit]

In USA, manned and automated (coin operated payphone) versions of the service are in existence Verizon, SBC Telecom(Credit Card Operated),

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Quarterly performance indicators of telecom services for the financial year ending March 2006" (PDF) (Press release). Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Retrieved 18 March 2014.