Anniversary: Clear words thanks to DECT

25 years of digital cordless telephones in the highest fixed network quality


Gigaset launched its first DECT cordless telephone in 1993. Since then, the digital transmission technology has provided perfect voice quality and trouble-free connections. Many innovations followed, such as the integrated answering machine – and even 25 years later, DECT pioneer Gigaset still sees potential for growth: The company now uses DECT as the standard in the smart home, in modern IP telephones and in future innovations.

Up until 25 years ago, there was background noise. If you held the cordless handset in the wrong position. If you wandered too far from the base station. And sometimes there was just noise for no reason at all. But people still loved the cordless phones because they gave them freedom. They could walk around the apartment while talking on the phone, get comfortable in the living room armchair, stay in bed, or even do housework. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the former Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications, presented the first cordless phone in 1987.

Gigaset was the trendsetter in radio technology right from the beginning, but the giant leap came in 1993. That year marked the arrival of DECT, which turned off the noise and made everything better. Introduced in the 1990s as Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, DECT soon became the standard. What began in 1993 with the first DECT telephone system developed into an enduring success story for Gigaset. The company emerged as a driver for innovation in cordless telephones and has been the undisputed market leader in Europe for decades.

Always a step ahead

The Gigaset 1015 had an integrated, digital answering machine as early as 1996 – until then, external devices with a cassette tape were the standard. The Gigaset 3000 arrived in 1999, featuring a loudspeaker function and illuminated display. Much smaller models such as the C2000C pocket and the first large-key telephone Gigaset E150 met the needs of different age groups.

In the 2000s, Gigaset brought features from mobile telephony to cordless fixed network telephones for the first time: Phones from the Gigaset 4000 series could send and receive SMS texts, the SL740 had a camera and offered MMS services, and the SL560 could be linked to headsets via Bluetooth. In 2011, Gigaset SL910 became the first touch telephone for the home. The latest addition to the family is the desktop phone T480HX. The device, with multiple business functions, connects like a handset to the existing base station via DECT, allowing users to even spontaneously move the home office out to the patio.

Energy-saving mode on, radiation off

Gigaset has always kept up with the times when it comes to its fixed network telephones. New ideas were thought through down to the last detail in order to give users real added value. As the health consciousness of people grew following the turn of the millennium, the issue of radiation exposure at home was called into question. Gigaset took the concerns of its customers seriously and introduced ECO DECT. Devices that carry this label are particularly low radiation and use 60 percent less energy. Variable functions reduce the transmission power when it’s not needed. A short time later came the ECO Modus Plus, which allowed telephones to operate radiation-free in standby mode. It was based on a new technology that enabled rapid synchronization of the base and handset with incoming or outgoing calls. During calls, the ECO mode reduces transmission power by 80 percent. All Gigaset telephones have carried the ECO DECT label for more than ten years.

Gigaset discovers the Smart Home with DECT

During development of the Gigaset Smart Home alarm system, the decades of experience with DECT played a key role. Gigaset wanted to build small cordless sensors for its customers that were easy to attach to doors or windows – without any installation or tangled cables. The solution was the DECT ULE standard. ULE stands for Ultra Low Energy, which gives the battery-powered sensors a very long lifespan without having to change batteries.

In the last 25 years, Gigaset has shaped and continuously developed the DECT standard like no other company. From a technology viewpoint, transmission speeds up to 6 Mbit/s will soon be possible – and only one-hundredth of that is needed for voice. “That will allow us to open up many new application areas,” says Anne Dickau, Senior Vice President Phones at Gigaset. “We continue to see DECT as a reliable, efficient and high-quality standard. The proprietary frequency band of 1,880 MHz to 1,900 MHz overlaps with hardly any other radio standard and can therefore provide interference-free, reliable and higher performance communication for any product. Ideal prerequisites for the future.”

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