Public telephones, also known as Payphones, are a device is a recurring machine in the Grand Theft Auto Series. They have appeared in every single Grand Theft Auto game to date. They are, in both Grand Theft Auto 1 and Grand Theft Auto 2, a crucial mode of communication between the player and various criminals. Ringing in various portions of cities, players are issued orders by said party to perform a string of missions, simply by walking in front of the marked telephone booths. The system was employed more extensively in GTA 2, where individual missions are trigger each time the player walks up to a ringing public phone.
Emphasis on face-to-face meetings with individuals in Grand Theft Auto III resulted in fewer occurrences of public telephones as a means to issue missions to the player. Only a handful of characters in games after GTA 2 are known to use public telephones to address the player, including El Burro, King Courtney, D-Ice and Marty Chonks from GTA III, Mr. Black from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and The Fixer from Grand Theft Auto IV.
- Grand Theft Auto III has the most payphone mission givers out of every Grand Theft Auto game after Grand Theft Auto 2.