Gross, Old Telephone Booths Are Being Converted Into WiFi Hotspots in New Zealand

This is a nice idea.

Auckland is a cute little town! (Photo: Flickr)

Auckland is a cute little town! (Photo: Flickr)

It sure looks like New Zealand has it all figured out! One of the nation’s telecoms is converting old payphone booths into WiFi hotspots to create a nationwide network of beautiful Internet connections.

More than 700 booths will be converted in the next few weeks, with another 2,000 added by the middle of next year. The old booths are generally located in the country’s major cities, like Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, as well as “holiday spots.”

However, the good news stops there since it’s not entirely free. Telecom New Zealand subscribers get 1 gigabyte of data for free, if they’re signed up for monthly cell phone packages. Non-subscribers can get access for $8 a month.

Although it’s nice to hook up to WiFi so you don’t eat up your data, ZDNet notes that it’s a clever way to gain new customers. During the service’s trial run, a “large portion” of users who were not Telecom New Zealand customers before decided to convert.

Are you listening, America?