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AT&t MS2085

AT&T MS2085: A Puzzling Disappointment

After praising AT&T for developing the innovative and affordable SYN-J small business phone system (see article here), we're turning around on the manufacturing arm of the telephony giant due to the puzzling MS2085 phone system. We're working with a law firm that just purchased the MS2085 phone system with 2015 desk phones. They just can't figure out how to change the awful on hold music stuck in the system. The answer? You can't.

Confirming this on several sites, I located a customer who is returning the phone to the retailer for this reason.

"The main reason I needed to return it: I found out it DOESN'T WORK WITH ANY MUSIC-ON-HOLD machine. And besides, silly music on hold that is built-in cannot be turned off or edited. Are you guys serious? This is end of 2012, not 1980. You're selling a business phone and this phone can't be working with custom business messages, paid music-on-hold solutions, etc."

The Weird Concept

The idea behind this phone is that there is one "base station" or "console" phone to which incoming phone lines (up to 4) are attached. So it looks like this phone system is using your old POTS lines (analog phone lines). Only the main console attaches to the phone lines. Easch deskset connects to your office network (via an Ethernet connection). Now you have a combination of phones that are on the office network (intranet) and using analog lines. This makes little sense when wireless technology would allow desksets to easily connect without wires to the console phone, as with the SynJ system.

Complaints Abound

There is no shortage of complains on the web about this system. Another dissatisfied buyer writes:

"There are too may deal-breakers for me with this phone system:

  1. Hold music can't be changed or turned off. It's terrible music and I would not want to subject any of my customers to this bad music.
  2. Calls transferred by auto attendant don't go to voicemail as another reviewer mentioned.
  3. System does not recognize a hang-up call so it keeps recording voicemail.
  4. When a voicemail is being recorded by one line and another line receives a call, the auto-attendant does not pickup, it just rings and rings.
  5. There seems to be a delay in the time the voicemail finishes recording and the time the system frees up (see #4 above) and displays the message notification (my tests showed this took several minutes). You can use this phone system without the auto-attendant and the built-in answering system (thereby avoiding issues 2-5 above) by using service-provided voicemail boxes.
  6. The speaker, both speakerphone and corded handset speaker, is fuzzy. It sounds like the paper membrane of the speaker is rattling slightly. I'm not sure if this affects the quality the person on the other end of the line hears (we tested with cell phones so it was hard to tell, seemed OK though). But recording the voicemail memos sounded fuzzy no matter what phone you listened to them on, although if you're using the service-provided voicemail you could record it from another phone. Ultimately though, the hold music was the biggest deal-breaker. I would not recommend this phone to anyone."


For detailed information, you can look in the manual.

Professional Installation May Be Required

AT&T promotes this phone system as, No professional assistance required. This contradicts reports we have heard from our clients, who say they have needed to bring in expensive hourly network techs to get all of the stations to work properly.

Here's a review posted at "Cons: Design, Performance, Expensive, Difficult to Use. This phone system is useless as a business phone. We have tried to get it to work for several days with no luck. this is the most confusing phone system I have ever worked with as a business owner for the last 30 years. These will be packaged back up and returned ASAP!"

There are better systems for similar money that would make your life at the office easier. Check out our aticles on: X-Blue, TierZero, and the AT&T SynJ. Note: the SynJ SB67158 is just the base console phone; The SB67138 is the base phone with one wireless handset. Also available are wireless desk sets.