sitting by the phone

What does it mean ’ I was sitting by the phone’? Does it mean ‘I was sitting near the phone’? What’s the difference between ‘near and by’ in this case? Are they interchangeable?

‘Sitting by the phone’ doesn’t just mean you were positioned next to it. It usually also suggests that you were sitting there anxiously waiting for it to ring. ‘Sitting near the phone’ doesn’t suggest the same thing, it just means where you were sitting. ‘Near and by’ is incorrect. ‘Nearby’ would also be incorrect in this context.