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DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM FAQS

The most common problems people have are no dial tone or static on the line. We have provided a Troubleshooting Quick Reference Guide for your Telephone Service that provides a step-by-step guide to performing both inside and outside test on your phone lines as well as some quick tests to do before calling for service. By performing these quick tests you will help us send the right technician; in fact you may not need a technician at all.

Just click on a question from the list below to view the answer.


What should I do if I have no dial tone on one or all of my telephones?

No Dial Tone on ONE phone:

It is likely that the problem is caused by telephone equipment failure. Disconnect the non-working phone and plug it into a wall jack that has a working telephone connected. If you still do not hear a dial tone after moving the phone, the problem is most likely in the telephone you unplugged. If you've elected the AT&T Telephone Protection Plan, AT&T will repair your telephone at no charge.

If you hear dial tone after moving the telephone it means that the problem is most likely in your jack or wiring to the jack. If you choose to contact AT&T please mention that you have already tried an "unplug" test. And, if you have the AT&T Inside Wire Maintenance Plan, AT&T will repair your inside wiring and wall jacks at no additional charge. If you do not currently subscribe to this plan you may incur a service charge for repairs performed by a qualified AT&T technician.

No Dial Tone on ALL phones:

These instructions may help you fix the problem yourself. Following these instructions first can help you better understand where the source of your trouble resides.

Testing at the NID: (if you are uncomfortable performing this test, skip to the "Unplug Test")

The NID is usually attached to an outside wall in single-family homes, or in an indoor panel for apartments.

  1. Open the NID box. Show me.
  2. Remove the modular plug from the test jack. Show me.
  3. Plug a working phone into the test jack. Show me.
  4. Attempt to place a call.

Unplug Test:

Unplug all of the following devices from both their electrical outlet and their phone jack: Phones, Fax Machines, Answering Machines, Personal Computers, Caller ID Boxes and Modems (including DSL modems)

After all of these devices are unplugged, wait 5 minutes to allow your line to clear. Then plug a corded phone into each of your phone jacks and try to place a call. If this does not work, write down any message/recording you hear, then try a different corded phone.

If the call does not go through, contact an AT&T Local Service Representative. Please mention you tried the "unplug test" and/or NID Testing and inform them of any message/recording you heard.

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What should I do if I have dial tone but I also have noise or static on the line?

Try disconnecting each telephone and related equipment (answering machines, computer modems, FAX machines, satellite TVs, Web TV, burglar alarms, etc.) one at a time from the telephone jack. If the noise stops the static is probably associated with the last piece of equipment you unplugged.

If the noise continues throughout the process, there is a good chance the service problem is associated with your wiring or jacks. contact an AT&T Local Repair Representative to schedule a repair visit from a qualified AT&T technician. If you are enrolled in the Inside Wire Maintenance Plan or the AT&T Complete Maintenancesm Plan and it is determined that the problem is in the wire or jacks you will not be charged. If are not enrolled in these maintenance plans you may be charged a service fee for repairs.

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Why does my phone cutoff during my calls?

If this happens with only one telephone, it can be caused by either a loose connection or a defect associated with that phone. If this happens on all of your phones, contact an AT&T Local Repair Representative. If you prefer, you may email us by completing the AT&T Online Repair Form.

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Why can't I make long distance calls?

Several reasons may prevent you from making Long Distance calls. If you hear a recorded message when dialing a long distance number, follow the instructions provided in the message or make sure you write the message down.

You can also log on to the AT&T Customer Center to check:

  • Your account status to verify your account is in good standing
  • You do not have call blocking activated for long distance calls
  • Your order status if you recently selected AT&T as your long distance provider. Select "Your Plans & Services" tab, then click "View Order Status"

If you are still unable to make long distance calls, contact an AT&T Local Repair Representative. If you prefer, you may email us by completing the AT&T Online Repair Form. Please provide the recorded message.

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Why can't I make or receive calls? (including trouble hearing or being heard)

If you cannot make and receive calls, see instructions for No Dial Tone.

If your problem is trouble hearing or being heard on the line, please ensure the volume control is set correctly and that the batteries are good for cordless phones.

If you can make and cannot receive calls or can receive and cannot make calls, follow the "Unplug Test" instructions below which may help you fix the problem.

Unplug Test:

Unplug all of the following devices from both their electrical outlet and their phone jack: Phones, Fax Machines , Answering Machines, Personal Computers, Caller ID Boxes, Modems (including DSL modems)

After all of these devices are unplugged, wait 5 minutes to allow your line to clear. Then plug a corded phone into each of your phone jacks and try to place a call. If this does not work, please write down any message/recording you hear, then try a different corded phone.

If the call does not go through, contact an AT&T Local Service Representative. Please mention that you have already tried an unplug test, and let them know of any messages/recording you heard.

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