What is pulse (dialing)? Definition and usage

LAST UPDATE: July 26th, 2017

Pulse dialing is when a push button phone uses a ticking noise to dial a call. It is an emulation of the rotary method of dialing from older phones.


Pulse dialing is a dialing method used to emulate a rotary dial phone.

It is used on push-button phones as an alternative to touch-tone dialing.

With pulse dialing, a number of clicks are produced on the phone line depending on what number is pressed. The button ‘3’ will produce 3 clicks, the button ‘9’ will produce 9 clicks, and ‘0’ will produce 10 clicks.


Almost all of today’s phone networks use “tone” dialing (emitting a different sounding beep for each button), however, most networks are still compatible with the rotary/pulse method.