A public payphone telephone system providing remote access by telephone devices to telephone lines. There are a plurality of public telephone access modules disposed in separated locations and operably connected to telephone lines for receiving remote telephone transmissions and for connecting them to the telephone lines. Each of the public telephone access modules includes visible indicia of its presence and location and a first interface module for wirelessly transmitting and receiving telephone communications by means of a beam of IR energy (or, alternatively, RF) energy. A remote telephone interface is operably associated with each of the telephone devices for interfacing between the telephone device and the public telephone access modules. Each remote telephone interface includes a second interface module for transmitting and receiving telephone communications by means of the beam of IR energy. For privacy, the public telephone access modules are each disposed within a case having a passageway therethrough communicating with the first interface module to create a narrow field of view directly in front of the case. The first interface module is removable from the remote telephone interface and pivotally mounted to create an effective gimbal mounting for ease of pointing. There is a stand-alone unit for plugging various devices (handset, portable computer, portable FAX) into and a telephone handset with the remote interface built in. One version is disposed in combination with a public telephone for use either directly or remotely. Additional privacy is provided by a query mode access and selectably changeable frequency use. A credit billing interface is also provided.