London’s iconic phone boxes painted green as they start charging mobile phones

Each box can charge 100 phones a day


Solar box

Several of London’s iconic red phone boxes are being converted into mobile phone charging points by a young startup called Solarbox.

Six disused phone boxes across the city will be painted green and equipped with mobile phone chargers that will draw power from a solar panel on the roof of the phone box.

The first was unveiled on Tottenham Court Road this week and while the other five will be rolled out in April 2015.

Although the charging points are free to use, people will be shown adverts while they wait.

Many of the UK’s phone boxes have fallen into disuse as mobile phone adoption continues to become increasingly widespread. As a result, other phone boxes around the country have been converted into things like libraries or fitted with medical equipment.

The so-called ‘solarboxes’ are being fitted with reinforced advertising screens and several mobile phone chargers that will be able to to power most mobile phones. They will be monitored through the day and locked overnight.

The project is the brainchild LSE graduates turned entrepreneurs Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny.

“I lived next to a phone box in my second year at uni and walked past it every day. I thought, ‘There are 8,000 of these lying unused in London and we must be able to find a use for them,'” Craston explained to the BBC.

The pair, who won second place in the Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of the Year Award earlier this year and also won the LSE’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award, claim the boxes will be able to charge 100 phones a day, providing up to 20 percent charge to most handsets in 10 minutes.

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