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Unseen handset mismatch is the major source of performance degradation in speaker identification in telecommunication environments. To alleviate the problem, a maximum likelihood a priori knowledge interpolation (ML-AKI)-based handset mismatch compensation approach is proposed. It first collects a set of handset characteristics of seen handsets to use as the a priori knowledge for representing the space of handsets. During evaluation the characteristics of an unknown test handset are optimally estimated by interpolation from the set of the a priori knowledge. Experimental results on the HTIMIT database show that the ML-AKI method can improve the average speaker identification rate from 60.00/0 to 74.60/0 as compared with conventional maximum a posteriori-adapted Gaussian mixture models. The proposed ML-AKI method is a promising method for robust speaker identification.