Cellular Network Not Available for Phone Calls – How To Fix

Android is popular for a reason, as it is well suited for both beginners and advanced users. However, it’s prone to bugs, with the network problems being its Achilles.

If you’re coming back from a long trip, you might have seen a message such as “Mobile network not available for phone calls” when you attempt to make a phone call. It happens a lot and in most cases lasts for a very short time. However, if the problem persists, here’s a list of things that can cause this message to appear, as well as a list of things you can do about it.

The Causes

This error message is, above all, a common result of having no mobile network signal. When that happens, most phone models show it. However, Samsung Galaxy phones are notorious for it, especially those using T-Mobile or Verizon.

Getting this message can be just a slight bug, but if the problem doesn’t quickly resolve on its own, it might actually be a sign of a malfunctioning operating system. Besides having a bad or no signal, your phone’s coverage, your current location, and a misplaced or corrupted SIM card might cause the problem.


Check Flight Mode

Before taking any more advanced steps, make sure it’s not just Flight 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. Flight mode (or Airplane mode) should be one of the included settings.

Airplane mode

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.
  2. Tap “Wireless and networks.”
  3. Find “Mobile networks.”
  4. Enter “Network operators.”
  5. Choose “Select automatically.”

Change the Battery

Batteries on Android devices can get damaged very quickly due to your phone generating heat while used excessively and for a long period of time. Leaving your phone on the charger longer than necessary can damage the battery, as well. If your phone’s battery is removable, give this method a try. Otherwise, consider taking your phone to an authorized repair shop if you’re suspecting that your battery is damaged.

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

Keeping in Touch

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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