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What Is a DECT Phone?

Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal

Unlike their analog predecessors, DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phones leverage digital technology to enhance sound quality significantly. According to a report by the Intellectual Insights Journal, the global cordless phone market size was valued at USD 1.2 billion in 2022, indicating a robust user base for cordless solutions. 

DECT phones offer an extended range of up to 300 meters outdoors and 50 meters indoors, as noted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. Furthermore, they operate across a variety of frequencies, typically between 1880 and 1900 MHz in Europe, ensuring less interference and more secure communication. With a DECT phone, users benefit from a seamless and reliable connection that meets the demands of both household and business environments.

Properties and Features

DECT phone - handset and base station.
DECT phone - handset and base station.

A DECT phone, commonly known as DECT 6.0 in the US, requires a base station to charge the handset and receive the phone's signal. It usually comes with one handset, but additional ones can be added on some models. This makes them useful in homes with multiple floors or large layouts, and for offices that want several cubicles to access the same phone system. Each handset is set up to communicate with the same base station, and usually comes with its own charging dock or "cradle."

Some DECT phones may be used in the same way as walkie talkies.
Some DECT phones may be used in the same way as walkie talkies.

The range of use for a handset depends on the phone itself, though it typically can reach over 300 feet (up to 100 meters). Digital technology allows a DECT phone to have much greater range than was previously possible, though this can be affected by various environment factors. Objects between the handset and base, for example, can potentially disrupt the signal and reduce the range of these phones.

Some DECT phones can be used with general wireless technology, allowing different handsets connected to the same base station to be used as walkie talkies. Other standards, such as Wi-Fi®, have been more popular in some markets, however, so DECT technology has not expanded to many other devices in places like the US. A DECT phone can often be used with Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, allowing it to remain functional with the new communication platform.

Risks and Concerns

One of the biggest issues with DECT 6.0 technology in the US is that it does not include a single technology profile for use by all manufacturers. This means that a handset produced by one company does not typically function with a base or accessory made by another. Someone using a DECT 6.0 phone should look for accessories and parts made by the same manufacturer to ensure all of the components are compatible.

There is some question of how secure the signal is from this type of phone. DECT technology uses encryption to protect the signal, but the encryption has been broken and someone could potentially listen in on a phone call. It is also possible for someone to intercept the signal from a handset to the base. This allows a different device to act as the base, sending a call through it to another location, rather than through the actual base and phone line.

There is concern among some people about the radiation released by DECT phones. In general, they emit only a low level of radiation during use and while charging; even using the phone frequently should not cause any health issues. Many devices used on a daily basis do emit some radiation, however, and while individually these items are harmless, there is some concern about the possibility that long-term use of multiple devices could result in sufficient cumulative exposure for health concerns. Research into this exposure is ongoing.

History and Terminology

The DECT phone was initially introduced in Europe, and was first referred to as a "Digital European Cordless Telephone." It has since become an industry standard in many parts of the world. The term "DECT" by itself is typically used in Europe and other regions, such as Australia and different Asian countries.

In the US, the term "DECT 6.0" is used, but this does not indicate any particular technological designation. The "6.0" was chosen simply to indicate that it was a new technology for American consumers. A DECT phone in the US operates at 1.9 GHz, and often replaced phones that used the 5.8 GHz frequency. It was decided that "1.9" might seem inferior to "5.8," despite this not being technically accurate, and so "6.0" was chosen for US marketing.

FAQ on DECT Phones

What is a DECT phone and how does it work?

A DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) phone is a type of cordless phone that uses digital technology for wireless communication. It operates on a dedicated frequency band of 1.9 GHz in the United States, which minimizes interference with other devices. DECT phones consist of a base station connected to the telephone network and one or more portable handsets that communicate with the base station using radio waves, providing secure and clear voice transmission.

Are DECT phones better than regular cordless phones?

DECT phones are generally considered superior to older cordless phones due to their enhanced security, range, and sound quality. They use digital encryption, making it difficult for eavesdroppers to intercept calls. Additionally, DECT phones often have a longer range, up to 300 meters outdoors and 50 meters indoors, and provide clearer sound quality with less interference from other electronic devices compared to analog cordless phones.

Can DECT phones interfere with Wi-Fi or other electronics?

DECT phones are designed to minimize interference with other electronic devices. They operate on a 1.9 GHz frequency band, which is reserved for voice-only applications, thereby avoiding the frequencies used by Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). This separation of frequency bands typically prevents DECT phones from causing interference with Wi-Fi networks and other common household electronics.

How secure are DECT phones against eavesdropping?

DECT phones incorporate advanced digital encryption, which significantly enhances call security. The digital encryption protocol used in DECT technology makes it very difficult for unauthorized parties to intercept and listen to conversations. While no wireless communication system is entirely immune to eavesdropping, DECT phones offer a high level of protection compared to older analog cordless phones.

Can I use multiple handsets with a single DECT phone base station?

Yes, one of the advantages of DECT phones is their ability to support multiple handsets with a single base station. Many DECT systems can handle up to six handsets, and some can support even more. This allows users to place additional handsets throughout their home or office without needing separate phone lines, providing convenience and flexibility for larger spaces or multiple users.

Discussion Comments


@anon944285 - Most DECT phones only transmit an encrypted signal from the handset to the base. This means that all conversation from the bast to the handset is open for listening. Additionally, many phone brands allow the phone to jump to an unencrypted side band, or it keeps one active to make sure your call doesn't drop. Some phones allow you to turn off that feature. It pretty much means that we have to contact each manufacturer to see which phones are bidirectionally encrypted and do not have unencrypted side bands. The search continues.


Would these phones be able to work as intercoms without actually being attached to a land line? We live in a remote area without land line access but would like to be able to communicate between phones in different spaces.


Where do I find the + sign on the dect phone?


I have a DECT 6.0 cordless phone and my next door neighbor, whom I know has a police scanner, seems to be able to listen and know what my conversations are about. How can this be? I thought these phones were secure and were the latest technology. Is there anything I can do about it besides going back to using a corded phone?


My DECT 6.0 broadcasts my own voice back through the earpiece when I speak. How do I get it to stop?


I have a Panasonic system in place now, but the number of satellite phones is maxed out. Can I get another Panasonic system (same or different?) and use them together? When a call comes in will they act independently?


@anon268421: I have the same GE product and came here looking for the same answer. The paper user manual only has a picture that points at the announcement button on the right side of the base unit.

At first, I tried the review button on the base station which says, "Press and hold the announce key to record an announcement." So I thought a "key" should be on the face of the base or maybe on the hand set. It was only after I noticed the buttons on the side did I find my answer.


How do I erase the first outgoing message from the

answering machine, on a 27909 DECT 6.0 cordless handset with answering machine?


I have just bought a dect phone and when I ring it, my number doesn't ring and I can't get a dial tone, just a crackling noise, but when I plug my old phone in, it works fine. Why?


Is any DECT phone with GAP protocol supported ready for using for IP telephony (SIP-over-DECT?)


I am still confused about DECT phones. Do they emit more radiation than a 2.4ghz digital spread spectrum phone? Help! Are the new Siemens Eco phones less radiation than my old 2.4? Where can I find these answers? Thank you!


Got a Uniden DECT 1480; not mechanically bad but it's clear the technician that programmed the bloody phone had strictly no intention of ever purchasing one. Typical engineering behavior.


DECT phones have been reported to trigger heart rhythm abnormalities.


Yes, anon9937, there are reported health risks in using DECT phones. Many papers are published on this. Searching the web will quickly bring up the findings.


I recently purchased a panasonic DECT 6.0 with Bluetooth.

It is the worst phone in the world. This phone continually drops calls, either incoming cell or land calls. Also, an outside caller has to make several calls to me for this phone to recognize the call. That is, we pick up the phone, cell or landline, and the phone appears dead.

I finally deregistered blue tooth, but this phone as does not recognize fax signals automatically. I need to initiate the fax manually to receive the fax message.

I requested that panasonic refund my money because their technology is totally unsatisfactory.

Panasonic has one of the worst warranties in the world. They will not refund my money and they will not replace the phone with a new one. Panasonic stinks.


In cases where you have both telephone service and high speed DSL services using the same line, you will need to have a filter involved.

There are two common setups:

a) The telco technician will run a dedicated phone line from the phone box (NID) outside to the jack that the DSL modem uses with the filter installed in the NID itself.

This kind of setup will only allow the DSL modem to work on that one phone jack in the house.

b) The second option is through the use of DSL filters on all devices inside the house that connect to the phone line (except for the modem itself).

This option allows the modem to be connected to any jack in the house. This is the most common setup and will work fine with most phones.

Keep in mind that each additional device that you connect to a phone jack will make it harder to manage with individual filters so if you have a lot of devices (more than four), you might want to consider calling the phone company to get an NID filter with a dedicated line installed.


Help! I want to record my own outgoing message and am prompted to select Command 8, but the manual does not tell me how to find Command 8. Any help is needed now. Thanks.


Interesting comments. The problems that anon105659 describes are exactly the same problems that I had with my 5.8 gz phone. Switching to dect improved reception, and significantly reduced the number of complaints that I got from friends on the other end of the call. I am on cable with Primus voip. No problems whatsoever.


dect 6.0 is a farce as far as I am concerned. I have had two (Uniden and AT&T). Both had the same problem. I could not walk from the family room to the living room without losing the signal. Couldn't hear a word from the person I was talking to.

With my old 5.8, I could walk out of the house, over to my neighbors house, around the back to the pool and if I got a call, I could hear them as if I was standing next to the base unit. So, two units back for a refund and broke out the Uniden 5.8. Works just as great as always. So much for globalization and DECT 6.0.


Uniden DECT 1580 phone is a nightmare. I have DSL internet, and the phone interferes with the internet connection regularly. It may work fine for four or five days, but then the connection problems start. When this happens, the phone refuses to give a dial tone, and people calling me get a busy signal.

This technology is downright aggravating, and the phone is going back to the store tomorrow.

My former Uniden phone, a 2.4Ghz digital, didn't cause any problems at all.


I have a telecom brio dect cordless phone.

I've lost the manual and am unable to unlock the command.

"Calls Barred". Does anyone have a solution, please?

Thanks. Still a mystery to me.


response to anon92881: I had the same problem. Phones worked so I knew the batteries weren't dead. Tech advised removing and replacing existing batteries to reset the phone. It worked.


When a call comes in, people can't hear me at all, yet I can hear myself in my own ear piece when I talk. Is the handset broken or is it a programming problem?


is a dect phone the same as spread sprectum. can people listen in on your phone calls.


1.What about security? Is it possible for someone to listen in with a scanner like the old cordless phones?

2.Is the DECT phone radiating even when not in use and the handset is lying on the base station?


Is a DECT cordless phone safe? specifically :

1) Is the DECT phone radiating even when not in use and the handset is lying on the base station?

2) Is the radiation from a DECT cordless phone when in use less than or more than that of a mobile phone?


We recently converted to FIOS phone service and we now have Caller ID, so I need to get some new phones for the house. I was looking at the DECT phones and am wondering if they will be compatible with our phone service, since we do not have digital.

Can anyone please help? We don't need any special features like fax or email or anything, just regular phone service. Thanks for any help!


Divvie blond question ...sorry!

We recently changed from having a landline at home as well as a broadband line to having both on only one land via BT Talk. We have had 2 months of problems with incoming calls now where they are inaudible. We have a cordless phone that works fine for outgoing calls and some incoming calls but is our problem with the incoming calls because our handset/telephone is not compatible with both the broadband and tel line coming in through the same source? Does it have to be a DECT phone to work on the broadband line?What do we need to look for on our phone to ascertain this? Please help as we are very stressed every time the phone goes!!!!!


When I use my dect phone to call another party that is on a 5.8 ghz frequency, or if the other party calls me from their 5.8 ghz phone what frequency is the call on and will there still be static on the line if the call is incoming from the 5.8 ghz phone?


I just purchased a GE 27909 DECT 6.0. It's the only phone I've ever owned without a switch to kill the ringer on the base unit. When you disable the ringer according to the instructions, it only kills the ringer in the handset!! So know I'm stuck unplugging the phone line as the only way to ignore early morning unwanted calls.


response to anon 9937: You are very wise to be concerned. Have the phone checked out for Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs). We are more and more bombarded with these, from cell phone towers to household lights, particularly CFTs (compact fluorescent tubes).


My old Philips DECT phones are on their way out, and need to be replaced. One useful feature they have is that I can set up 3-way external calling by dialing TWO external numbers in turn (plus a little bit of button pressing). Is this feature common to all DECT handsets ?


what is the difference between normal cordless phone and dect phone? i am working in a multi-storied building with a complex structure. can i use dect phone in the building with lot of terminals and more than 10 dect phones? (like a normal cordless phones, but the phone should be in "range" within every part of the building) Now my staff is using normal mobile phones.


A lot of DECT phones can be reset by pushing a reset knob or by a special command. I own two different DECT phones marketed by Philips: a Voip321 dual phone and a Philips DECT515. It seems that the Philips DECT phones have no provision to give the handset and/or the base station a hard reset.

The base station of the Voip321 can be reset with a registered handset. However, if the registration is the problem you are lost.

The handset of the DECT515 can be reset by removing the batteries for more than 8 hours. However, if that doesn't solve the problem there is no way to give the handset a hard reset.

Are you aware of this problem with Philips DECT phones? Or is there a "secret" solution for my problems?


is panasonic handset 1034 compatible with 8231 base?


Why do DECT phones use only radio spectrum?


Are there any known risks by using or having a DECT phone in your home? When I lived in Germany 2 years ago, there was an issue about that type phone at my child's school.


In response to anon4936:

It depends on the model phone you get. The Philips DECT 6.0 allows any handset to pick up the incoming call. However, once one handset picks up that call, another person can't listen in with the other handset unless the call is transferred or 3-way calling between the 2 handsets and external caller are initiated.

It sounds like a lot of work, but only takes 3 minutes to get it down without issue.


The Philips DECT 6.0 High Def voice is compatible with headsets. Battery life is 12 hours talk time and 150 hours on idle. The exact model number is CD4402B/37 and runs for just about $68 at Walmart. Setup is under 10 minutes and includes a second handset and base station. The second base station does not require a phone cord to be directly connected. The first station obviously does require a phone cord.

The phone is compatible with Voip services such as Vonage. The set includes speaker phone and direct calling to the other handset (intercom style). The phone LCD and keys are completely back lit with a vivid blue light. My only complaint about this model is that the ring tones (or as they say on the phone; ring melodies) are kind of annoying.


I have the same number for phone and fax. Used to work perfectly with my old Panasonic phone. With new Panasonic DECT 6.0 phone, when people call me, they immediately hear the ten digit dial sound and "beep" of the fax (and if I pick up immediately I also hear it.) very annoying! Any ideas why this happens, and what can I do to stop it?


Do the DECT phones ALL use the Spread Spectrum technology, or is it not necessary any more?


Are all digital phones DECT are does DECT specify a particular standard for digital phones? If so are DECT phones superior to regular digital phones?


What about security? Is it possible for someone to listen in with a scanner like the old cordless phones?


I purchased a Panasonic DECT 6.0 phone (KX-TG8232) recently. I find that whenever this phone is active, I lose my interconnection via my DSL. The DSL line is filtered by the splitter provided by the phone company. Any ideas?


I purchased a GE 5.8Ghz and you couldn't have two people listen on two handsets to the same call. You had to transfer the call to the other handset. Will the DECT technology allow two people on different handsets talk to the same incoming caller?

For example, incoming phone call is answered by two different people at same time in household. On my old phone, both handsets could hear the incoming caller and we would figure out who they wanted to talk to and the other handset was hung up. But the GE only allowed one handset to hear it and then you had to transfer it to the right phone.

I decided to research phones and the DECT seems best. But I need the capability of having more than one handset answer the call.


My dect 6.0 phone is great except when I use my headset I get an echo. Are there headsets made for dect 6.0 technology?


I have a Uniden 1060 (DECT 6.0).

Specification-wise, what is the Peak Envelope Power of the Base and Handset? I'd really like to adjust the antenna to optimize the TPO (Transmitter Power Output (TPO).

I'm a ham radio operator.. sorry for all the techie stuff..



Actually, the lower the frequency, the longer the range (due to a longer wavelength). A 900MHz phone generally will have much better range than a 5.8GHz phone.


I have seen plenty of DECT cordless phones that are headset compatible.

As for my question - how would you compare the range and call quality of a DECT phone vs. a 5.8 GHz digital phone like the Uniden TRU 9360? My current phone is a 2.4 GHz and gets static when I go outside (but still not far from the base). I've heard DECT may be better quality sound, but at "only" 1.7 GHz - wouldn't the range be much less than a 5.8 GHz? Thanks.


are there any DECT cordless phones that are headset compatible?

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    • DECT phone - handset and base station.
      DECT phone - handset and base station.
    • Some DECT phones may be used in the same way as walkie talkies.
      By: Jamie Wilson
      Some DECT phones may be used in the same way as walkie talkies.