Qwest phone services upped the price of pay-phone calls from 35 cents to 50 cents last week, a change they attribute to cell phone competition and rising phone maintenance costs.
The increase hit 14 states, all of which had declining pay phone use, said Mark Genrich, Qwest public relations director.
"Most of the reason people don't use pay phones anymore is because so many people have cell phones," Genrich said.
In the past five years, pay phone use has declined by almost 50 percent, as cell phone use has become increasingly popular.
That, coupled with rising electricity and labor costs, makes pay-phone servicing more expensive than Qwest would like, Genrich said.
A 50-cent call will allow the user unlimited talk time.
"If they wanted to, (the user) could talk for days," he added. "The price will not go back down, but it is not likely to rise in the near future either.
"We're not the only company doing this," he said. "We're all being hit by the same factors."