Phone of the Day: Nortel Aastra Mitel M9316 Analog Meridian Business Set

Today’s phone is a great phone I brought out of storage, it’s an analog set that highly represents a digital office phone. My friend Jeff gave this to me a few years ago, it was his Moms phone at Illinois Bell Ameritech and she was able to keep it when she left. This phone can be used on a residential land line or anywhere standard analog dial tone exists.

The M8000 and M9000 series analog phones were developed by Nortel in 1993 as an answer to replace the Unity line of analog phones introduced in the mid 1980s. While Unity proved to be very reliable for analog sets, they lacked the newly available CLASS and CLID features available from the telephone companies in the early 1990s. Unity phones didn’t come with any type of Caller ID display. The M9000 series analog “Meridian Business Sets” added the functionality of a full caller ID display along with features to utilize the CLID features such as call logging or adding an incoming number to the directory on the phone.

The phones also contained many features normally found on the much more expensive PBX and Norstar sets such as the 4 Norstar ring tones and a fixed Hold and RLS button. The M9417 and M9516 could even be set up to provide paging to a loudspeaker and common phone speakers at the same time, all without a KSU. The M9516 model contained a built in auto attendant and a integrated voicemail box system.

This particular phone I am featuring today is the single line version called a M9316 Meridian Business Set. The phone comes with a 2 line LCD display that not only shows caller ID but also guides you through features on the phone. A hidden options button is under a sliding bar next to the MWI light, see in the photos where the set says Ameritech. The Handsfree Mute button is complimented with an almost cute looking 3 circle design underneath the button to call attention to it. Fixed keys are to the direct right of the dialpad while the longer dialpad on the far right contains mostly programmable buttons, except for the few on top. The telephone gets its PBX style features from the AC power supply connection. When power is out, the phone still functions as a simple analog phone without any feature button or speaker technology.

The phone takes many design cues from the 1989 Aries M2000 digital telephones for Meridian 1.

See the attached photos. The M9316 is an aerodynamic and slimmed down version of the M2616 set. Both displays are adjustable but the M9316 does have one advantage, softkeys under the display and call logging, something that wasn’t available on the Meridian Phones until 1999 with the Meridian 3900 Taurus sets.

The M8000 and M9000 sets are still manufactured. Nortel sold the rights to these sets to Aastra in 1999 and now Mitel owns Aastra and has rebranded these sets as Mitel M8000 and Mitel M9000 sets. They are still manufactured new.

Here are some different angles of the M9316 set. I would say this is a great set to be used in an office, home office, small retail store or restaurant, in a pbx environment such as a university for analog extensions and practically anywhere you want a great looking analog phone that is rugged and solid.