Why can't I make or receive telephone calls (cordless phones)?

There can be several reasons why you can't make or receive calls. You can test your line and do some quick checks with our landline troubleshooter >

There can be several reasons for this. You can test your line and do some quick checks with our landline troubleshooter >

Report and fix landline problems online

Please try these checks in order:

  1. Make sure that you're using the line cord that came with the phone as a different cord may not be suitable
  2. Check that both ends of the line cord are securely connected
  3. Check both ends are securely connected

  4. Check that both ends of the power adapter are securely plugged in
  5. Make sure the power adapter is plugged into a working mains socket and the power is switched on
  6. Check power adapter is plugged into a working mains socket and the power's on

  7. If the handset display flashes Searching, Base or Range Out it's lost its link to the base
  8. If the handset display flashes 'Searching', 'Base' or 'Range Out',  it's lost its link to the base

    Move the handset closer to the base so it's back in range.

    Move the handset closer to the base so it's back in range

    If the link still isn't restored, you'll need to re-register the handset to the base. For how to do it, see the user guide >

  9. Switch the mains power off, wait five seconds and then turn it on again to reset your product
  10. Switch the mains power off, wait five seconds and then turn it on again to reset your product

  11. If the line cord is plugged into an extension socket, try it in the master socket instead. This is usually the one nearest the front door. If this fixes the problem, you could have a problem with your extension wiring. To find out more about master sockets see What type of master socket have I got? >
  12. Remove all other phone equipment connected to the same phone line. This includes phones, separate answering machines and fax machines. If this solves the problem, you may have had too many devices connected on the one landline
    • Your cordless handset and base has a REN of one
    • Any extra handsets and chargers you've registered to your cordless base have a REN of zero
    • Fax machines and separate answering machines often have higher RENs
  13. All landlines have a REN (Ringer equivalence number) given to them. The standard number for a residential line is a REN of four. Carefully check the total REN connected to your line. You do this by adding together the REN value of each device (it's normally shown on the base).

    If you exceed the REN of four, your phones may not ring. And if you're using different types of phone there's no guarantee they'll ring, even when the REN's less than four.

    Carefully check the total REN connected to your line by adding together the REN value of each device

  14. If you’ve got broadband, you may need to use a microfilter to stop the broadband interfering with your phone service. Find out more at Why do I need ADSL filters (microfilters) and where do they go? >
  15. You can buy microfilters from www.btcom.ll-digital-sandbx1.bt.com/shop and most computer shops.

  16. Try connecting another known working phone to the socket. If you still can't make or receive calls, contact your service provider to get the line checked
  17. Try testing your phone on a line in a different property, such as a neighbour's line. This is to see if the problem is with the phone

  1. Make sure the ringer isn't switched off on either the handset or the base
  2. Check if Call Diversion is activated on the line. If you've a BT line it's possible that call diversion's set-up. On some phones you can check this from a BT Services button on the handset or you can call your service provider

If these checks don't help, please contact the helpdesk for your model of phone. You'll find the contact details in the user guide for your phone >

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