Why your phone is disconnecting mid call or ringing only once

Does your phone call suddenly disconnect? Or, does your phone ring once and then stop? Both situations can be frustrating and puzzling. Try these suggestions to fix the problem.

Start with the basics

If your phone is disconnecting mid call, or ringing once and hanging up, the first thing to figure out is the extent of the problem. Begin by examining your phone equipment for damage. Alternately, if the problem only happens with long distance calls, read "What to do if you can't make long-distance, toll-free or 900-number calls."

Look for simple fixes

These topics are covered in the phone equipment article in more detail, but since they're common causes for this service issue, we want to draw your attention to them.

  • Does your phone cut out when your move the cord? If so, check that the cord. Is it snug, both going into the handset and at the wall? If not, tighten it.
  • Check all your phone cords for damage. Even small nicks and cuts can cause dropped calls. Replace any damaged cords. If you find a problem with your inside wiring, read "How to get your phone wiring and jacks repaired."
  • If you have a cordless phone, the batteries could be weak. Swap them out for some fresh ones and see if that solves the problem.
  • If the problem only happens with one phone, try plugging a different phone into that phone's jack. Next, place a call from the new phone to see if the issue is resolved.

Check your calling features

If the problem happens on all calls and all phones, could the issue be with one of your calling features? It's easy to misinterpret normal beeps as repair issues.

For instance, if you have call waiting, are already on a call and receive another call, you will hear a beep in your ear. The person you're speaking to won't hear the beep, but you will. In fact, the beep might cause you to miss a bit of the conversation, but you are still connected to the person you called. You haven't been disconnected.

When you hear the beep, quickly press and release the hang up button to put the first call on hold and answer the second call. Press the hang-up button again to switch between call. If you're making a call that you don't want interrupted, you can temporarily turn OFF call waiting. Simply press *70, wait for the dial tone to come back and then dial the number you want to call. (Call waiting automatically reactivates when you hang up.) For detailed, printer-friendly instructions on how to use this calling feature, download the call waiting user guide.