Cellular Network Not Available for Phone Calls – How To Fix

The Cellular Network Not Available error can become quite frustrating when you’re trying to make an important phone call. The error can effect AndroidOS and iOS devices. Typically, this error indicates and issue with the cellular service or software. But, it can also indicate a hardware issue too.

Cellular Network Not Available for Phone Calls - How To Fix

Why does this error occur? How do you fix it? This article will walk you through everything you need to know when your device will not make phone calls due to a Cellular Unavailable error.

What Causes the Cellular Unavailable Error?

When you see the error on your smartphone, your device likely won’t make or receive calls. Perhaps you can’t receive texts or access the internet without a WiFi connection. The error doesn’t always affect SMS or Data activity, but sometimes it does, and this is quite telling.

Having no cellular service at all can be as simple as there’s no connection where you are. If you’re traveling to a new area, check your carrier’s coverage map. You may be too far away from the nearest tower (or the tower is blocked by the terrain) to get a proper signal.

Another issue that causes a smartphone to completely disconnect from the cellular signal is a region-wide outage. You can quickly check for this problem by visiting the Down Detector website and typing in your Carrier’s name. If there are outage reports in your area, you will see them here.

Lastly, hardware damage can cause issues with calling. If your device has physical and liquid damage, part of the motherboard may have damage causing the problems. Even if the damage took place a long time ago but the problem is new, the internals may have corroded leading to a loss of function.

However, if making phone calls is the only problem, there is another issue entirely. That’s what we’ll cover in more detail below.

Solutions

We’ve listed the more common solutions in the following sections. The inability to make and receive phone calls often resolves itself. But, if it doesn’t, there are some other things you can do.

Check Airplane Mode

Before taking any more advanced steps, make sure it’s not just Airplane mode being turned on and preventing you from making phone calls. To check this, go to your Home screen, then swipe down from the top of the screen. Tap on the Airplane icon to ensure Airplane mode is disabled.

Select a Network Operator

When you go abroad, your smartphone changes the network operator. The network operator search is set to automatic by default on many many phones, but some advanced users like to disable this setting and perform the search manually. If you belong to the second group, you might have forgotten to select an operator or the phone doesn’t let you do it because it can’t update its location.

Whatever the case, you might want to set your phone to automatically search for network. Here’s how to do it on most Android devices.

  1. Go to the “Settings” menu and tap “Connections.”
  2. Find “Mobile networks.”
  3. Enter “Network operators.”
  4. Choose “Select automatically.”

Power Cycle

A power cycle might fix the issue you’re having, as it can reset and reestablish connection with your network provider. This is a good way to fix glitches if your phone’s battery is removable. To power cycle, you need to turn off your device, remove the SIM card, and the battery. Just keep in mind you should do this as carefully as you can.

Fix the Radio Signal

Your radio signal may not be broadcasting correctly. Here’s how to solve this issue.

  1. Dial *#*#4636#*#* from your phone. This is not considered a phone call, so you’re still able to dial it.
  2. The number will take you to the testing menu, if entered correctly. In the menu, select “Phone information” (or “Device information”).
    Testing menu
  3. Tap “Run ping test.”
    Phone information
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Set preferred network type” dropdown menu. It’s not easily recognizable, so look for the small arrow on the right.
  5. Choose “GSM Auto (PRL)” from the list.
    Preferred network type
  6. Tap “Turn off radio.”
    Turn off radio
  7. Reboot your device and see if this solves the problem.

Update Your Device

Performing a system update helps solve a multitude of operating system problems. So, if you think the OS is to blame, give the update a shot. The actual location may vary for different models, but the general process is pretty much the same.

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings.
  2. Find the “About device” or “About phone” option. It is under the “System” tab on many phones.
  3. Find and tap the “Software update” option. Some devices might have this option directly under the “System” tab.
  4. Tap “Check for updates.”
  5. If there is a newer OS version available, install it.

Perform a Factory Reset

If your device’s OS is already up-to-date, another potential solution for OS-related problems is doing a factory reset. Make sure to backup important data beforehand, as this clears all your phone settings, apps, and sometimes even personal files. To do a factory reset:

  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Find the “Backup and Reset” menu. The menu name may vary, but it should have the word “backup” in it.
  3. Look for an option regarding “Factory data reset.” Perform it whenever you feel ready.

Check the Verizon APN Settings

If you’re using Verizon, yet nothing has worked for you so far, try updating the APN settings. This is what the values should look like:

Name: Verizon
APN: internet
Proxy:  Not set
Port: Not set
Username:  Not set
Password:  Not set
Server: Not set
MMSC: http://mms.vtext.com/servlets/mms
MMS proxy: Not set
MMS port: 80
MCC: 310
MNC: 012
Authentication type: Not set
APN type: Not set or Internet + MMS
APN Protocol: Default
Bearer: Not set

Reach Out to Your Carrier

IF all else fails, you may need to reach out to your cell phone carrier. Perhaps there is a mass outage. Or, you need a new SIM card. Sometimes representatives can resend the Over-the-Air activation refreshing your SIM card and resolving the error.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been traveling and now I can’t make calls. What’s happening?

If you’ve recently traveled and you can’t make calls, powering your phone off and back on should fix the problem. Sometimes our phones fail to recognize local cell phone towers upon returning from a trip. If that doesn’t work, ensure Airplane mode isn’t active.

Then, call your phone carrier. You may need a new SIM card or the company can help you restart your service upon returning.

Keeping in Touch

A missing network can be just a minor bug that disappears on its own quickly. But if that’s not the case, try these solutions one by one. Hopefully, at least one of them should work for you.

Have you had network problems earlier? What did the trick for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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