On a wired telephone, the handset is a device that a user holds to the ear to hear the audio sound through the receiver. Since the 1920s, handsets usually also contain the phone's transmitter (microphone) which is positioned close to the mouth. In earlier telephones the transmitter was mounted directly on the telephone itself, which often was attached to a wall at a convenient height.
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 telephone does not require a base station and communicates directly with a cell site in specially designated frequency bands.
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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 is used for starting a call, and a red lying-down (on-hook) handset is used for ending a call. Unicode provides the U+1F4DE 📞 TELEPHONE RECEIVER symbol.
- 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.