The Insider: 'Cell Zone' to replace long-lost phone booth

From The Insider

The Insider: 'Cell Zone' to replace long-lost phone booth

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Back when telephones had cords and people had both discretion and manners, there was a simple and ubiquitous solution to the matter of having a telephone conversation in private: The phone booth.

Alas, the phone booth disappeared about the time the cell phone came into widespread use, allowing everyone in the airport waiting lounge or coffee shop to share the details of your business deals and your recent medical history.

Now a Massachusetts company is proving that everything old is new again by introducing what it calls the Cell Zone -- essentially a soundproof cylinder (priced at $2,400 to $3,500 each) that looks remarkably like an updated phone booth. Without the phone, that is.

A spokeswoman for Salemi Industries says a cellular company is deploying two units at a Milwaukee concert series, and more are being built. None are in Seattle yet.

Sea-Tac Airport doesn't have any specially designated areas for cell phone use (though a company there will rent you office space, with a land line and a computer connection, by the minute). But there are unofficial places, spokesman Bob Parker says, where savvy travelers know they can go to find privacy.