A Guide to GSM Desk Phones

gsm desk phone
Aimee profile image

What is a GSM desk phone?

GSM desk phones differ from regular desk phones in that they hook up to the mobile network, rather than the landline network. They’re almost like a large mobile phone (but not quite the brick from the Seventies).

GSM (global system for mobile communications) refers to the mobile connection being used. And like a mobile phone, GSM desk phones use a SIM card to make calls, rather than connect to your office building’s internal telephone network. This makes them incredibly easy to set up and move – you can literally just plug in and go.

Depending on the SIM card you use, the GSM connection can be 2G, 3G, or 4G. As we already know, the higher the number, the speedier the connection. These days, the majority of GSM desk phones operate with a 3G or 4G SIM, in order to keep up with modern day business demands.

In some ways, GSM desk phones are similar to VoIP phones – for starters, they’re both hosted by a third party provider. The difference is GSM phones don’t tend to offer businesses the same level of functionality as VoIP phones, but often cost just as much per month to operate. We’ve dedicated a whole paragraph to VoIP vs GSM later on in the article.

gsm desk phone

GSM desk phones use a mobile connection, rather than a landline connection, to make calls

Save by comparing phone system prices from the best providers for you
Do you already have a business phone system?
Answer a few questions – it only takes a minute

What are the different types of GSM desk phone?

As with most technology purchases, the bigger your budget, the better the product. On one end of the spectrum, GSM desk phones are basic phone handsets. On the other, they can have enough functionality to be considered a smartphone. Find out more about each of the different types of GSM desk phone below.

Standard GSM Desk Phone

You can purchase a new standard GSM deskphone for just £30, while refurbished models can go for as little as £15. Needless to say, the functionality of these phones is pretty basic. They usually support the 2G network, and allow you to hold, forward, and store calls. They also support SMS, and usually store around 250 messages.

Standard GSM desk phones are suitable for start-up businesses where perhaps you’ve converted your spare bedroom into an office, and you’re after a seperate business number.

Smart GSM Desk Phone

With a typical market price of around £80, Smart GSM desk phones offer a little more functionality than a standard desk phone. Firstly, they can sync up to your Microsoft and Google accounts via the Cloud. This means you’ll benefit from having all of your communication records in one place.

Secondly, smart GSM desk phones are capable of call conferencing, call barring and silencing calls, which is ideal for small businesses looking for a more professional phone system.

Android GSM Desk Phones

Android GSM desk phones offer the latest in GSM technology. Owning an Android GSM desk phone is very much like owning a smartphone – it’s just a lot bigger. In addition to making calls, the phone can hook up to the internet, allowing you to download apps from the Google Play store.

This means you can download the likes of Skype, WhatsApp, and your email account straight onto your phone. And don’t worry – you’ll still benefit from all the necessary call functions, such as barring, silencing and forwarding. Just bear in mind this type of phone could set you back a hefty £280.

How much does a GSM desk phone cost?

You may have already worked out from the figures mentioned above that the cost of a GSM desk phone varies greatly. Depending on your business’s needs, you can expect to pay between £15 and £280 per unit.

Of course, this doesn’t account for the recurring monthly SIM cost. Take a look at the table below to find out how much you can expect to pay:

Type of GSM Desk PhoneSIM Plan Cost
Basic GSM Desk Phone£8 per month
Smart GSM Desk Phone£20 per month
Android GSM Desk Phone£35 per month

GSM desk phones vs VoIP phones

GSM desk phones vs VoIP phones – which are better? Well, let’s look at the reasons why you may be looking to invest in a GSM desk phone:

  • You would like a separate business number
  • You would like a phone system you can easily move from office to office
  • You would like an intelligent phone system that does more than a standard handset

A hosted VoIP phone system can offer you all of the above, and more. And it won’t cost you that much more, either. In fact, a basic VoIP plan can cost as little as £10 a month per user.

And because VoIP phones are connected to the internet, they’re capable of a heap of functions that’ll bring a whole new level of professionalism to your business. With VoIP phone software, you’ll be able to set up functions such as:

  • Call announcing
  • Call blocking
  • Call waiting
  • Find me follow me
  • On-hold music

VoIP phones will enable you to unify all of your communications, which means all call, email, SMS, and website data is stored in one place. This is particularly useful for growing businesses, where keeping track of customer interaction is imperative to keeping them moving down the sales funnel.

Thanks to VoIP software, you’ll be able to integrate your mobile phone into your business phone system. And you’ll even be able to call your customers from the same number, no matter the device you’re using.

That’s not to say that GSM desk phones don’t have their place in the market. There’s no denying that they’re a cheap and convenient business solution. Android GSM desk phones can even offer you similar functionality to a VoIP phone, via apps like Skype.

But they’re certainly not as future-proof, and growing businesses will soon need the additional call management functions of a VoIP system to keep on top of increasing communication demands.

What’s next?

GSM desk phones are relatively easy to get hold of, and the majority of mobile phone companies offer basic SIM plans.

VoIP is a slightly different story. With VoIP, you can invest in a system that is completely tailored to your business’s unique needs. This means the cost of a VoIP system is more tailored, too.

The quickest way to receive quotes and talk to a VoIP supplier is to fill in our form with a few details about your business. Once complete, just sit back, and wait for your ideal supplier to call. Easy!

Save by comparing phone system prices from the best providers for you
Do you already have a business phone system?
Answer a few questions – it only takes a minute
Written by:
Aimee profile image
Aimee Bradshaw Writer and researcher

Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems and point of sale go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about dog walking on Dorset beaches.