Classic handset
Woman using a telephone handset (West Germany, 1988)
Early 20th century candlestick telephone which required only the receiver to be held to the ear (United States, 1920s-30s)

A handset is a component of a telephone that a user holds to the ear and mouth to receive audio through the receiver and speak to the remote party via the built-in transmitter.

In earlier telephones the transmitter was mounted directly on the telephone itself, which was attached to a wall at a convenient height or affixed to a desk stand.

Until the advent of the cordless telephone, the handset was usually wired to the base unit, typically by a flexible tinsel wire.

The handset of a cordless telephone contains a radio transceiver which relays communication via a base station that is wired to the telephone line. A mobile phone does not require a base station and communicates directly with a cell site in specially designated frequency bands.

Handset symbol

A graphic symbol that designates a handset is used on cordless and mobile phones to specify placing or ending a telephone call. Usually a button with green upright (off-hook) handset icon Gnome-call-start.svg is used for starting a call, and a red lying-down (on-hook) handset Gnome-call-stop.svg is used for ending a call.[1] Unicode provides the U+1F4DE 📞 TELEPHONE RECEIVER symbol.

See also


  1. ^ Lindholm, Christian; Keinonen, Turkka; Kiljander, Harri (2003-06-22). Mobile Usability: How Nokia Changed the Face of the Mobile Phone: How Nokia Changed the Face of the Mobile Phone. McGraw Hill Professional. ISBN 9780071429108.
  • Sajal K. Das (April 2010). Mobile Handset Design. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-82467-2.