What does it mean when all circuits are busy?

The three most common calling error messages are:

  1. "All circuits are busy"
  2. "Cannot be completed as dialed"
  3. "Dial a one"


Read the explanations and try the recommendations to successfully place your call.

"We're sorry. All circuits are busy now. Please try your call again later."

An all-circuits-busy message means that there aren't any free outgoing lines. Occasionally, there are more people trying to place calls than the number of available phone lines. Simply hang up and try again. A line should free up soon. 

This message can also indicate a service outage such as a cut cable or equipment that's been damaged by weather. You can use the Troubleshooter to check for outages.

If you continue to get this message, note when the problem began happening and/or what time of day it happens, and submit a repair request through Troubleshooter.

Troubleshoot problems with your service

"Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again."

Phone numbers come in 7, 10 and 11-digit varieties. If you only use 7 digits and the phone equipment is expecting 11, you can get error message like this. The simplest solution is try one of the patterns you haven't dialed yet:

  • 7-digit (XXX-XXXX): phone number only
  • 10-digit (XXX-XXX-XXXX): area code + phone number
  • 11-digit (1-XXX-XXX-XXXX): 1 + area code + phone number

There are some other reasons for this message:

  • If you only hear this message when you call a specific number, there might be a problem with the number you're calling. Try calling from a different phone and/or at a different time.

  • It's possible that you have a block on your phone, which would prohibit you from making calls. To remove a block, you will need to contact us.

  • This message can indicate a suspended account. If you haven't paid your bill, you may still have a dial tone, but that's about it. If your account continues to go unpaid, it will be permanently disconnected. Learn how to set up a payment plan.

"You must dial a 1 when calling this number. Please hang up and try again."

This message usually indicates you're calling a long distance number. You will need to follow the instructions and dial 1 before the rest of the number for your call to go through.

If you get this message only sometimes when you call the same number, there might be a problem with the number you're calling. Check the number to be sure it's accurate, and then try calling from a different phone or at a different time.

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