The symbolic replacement of the Great British phone box is set to go nationwide and is also being given a festive tweak.

Scott Bicheno

December 13, 2017

2 Min Read
BT starts InLinkUK roll-out, gets Santa involved

The symbolic replacement of the Great British phone box is set to go nationwide and is also being given a festive tweak.

InLinkUK is a public wifi hotspot terminal that also offers free domestic phone calls as well as local information. The first one appeared earlier this year in Camden, London and presumably hasn’t gone horribly wrong, because half a year later BT is daring to offer 14 of them to the lucky citizens of Leeds.

“It is great news that Leeds is the first city outside London to benefit from this new state-of-the-art phone box,” said Neil Scoresby, BT’s GM for Payphones and InLinkUK. “It means that visitors and residents will benefit from the fastest free public wifi in the UK, make calls for free and even charge their phone when out and about. InLinkUK is there for them not only this Christmas but throughout the year.”

“Leeds marks a very exciting stage in our national InLink roll out, and is the second UK city to benefit from the free services InLinks offer,” said Matt Bird, GM of InLinkUK. “When we launched InLinkUK we said that we wanted to bridge the digital divide and create smarter communities. By bringing InLinks to another major city outside of the capital, we are now starting a new phase in our journey and look forward to the service rolling out to other areas in the coming months.”

In a bizarre apparent attempt to generate a bit of extra publicity InLinkUK has added a ‘hotline to Santa’ feature to the terminals. ‘From today, InLinks’ integrated tablet will display an icon which, once pressed, directly calls Santa, allowing users to leave a message for him to assist in his and the elves preparation for Christmas Eve,’ said the announcement,’ said the announcement.

Scoresby and Bird also had baffling things to say about calling the North Pole and bringing the magic of Christmas to life, but you get the general thread. What hasn’t been detailed is what InLink will do with these wishful missives. Does BT plan to fulfil them? Is it going to share the data with internet giants so they can spam the author with ads for the stuff they asked Santa for? Who knows?

UPDATE – 15:30 13/12/17 – We received the following clarification from an InLinkUK spokesperson: “Access to the voicemail inbox is password protected, safeguarded by one member of staff who holds GDPR certification. All messages will be deleted after 48 hours. No information will be shared.”

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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