Phone Showing Emergency Calls Only: Causes & Fixes

Has your mobile phone started showing Emergency Calls Only? Does your mobile no longer have service? Well, there is little thing about owning a mobile phone if it has no service. This article will provide some tips and tricks or advice on what you can do with your mobile when it is out of service.

Causes & Fixes – Phone Say “Emergency Calls Only”

There are many reasons that can cause a mobile phone to show Emergency Calls Only and resolving this issue can be a real challenge. Well, It can be a software problem, a hardware issue, or a problem with the wireless network itself, a feature on the wireless account, the location, the list of possible reasons can go on and on which makes this problem one of the hardest issues to try to resolve on a mobile phone.

Power Cycle

 Emergency Calls Only

Switch your phone off, leave it for a few seconds or a minute, and then power the phone back on. Wait until the phone power on all the way and then try your mobile to check if it’s working properly. Restarting your mobile will force it to try and reach out and attempt to connect to your network again.

Emergency Calls Only -> Second level reset

If power cycling didn’t resolve the issue then switch on your mobile and while it’s on remove its battery. This is known as “soft reset” that can resolve minor software problems on mobile phones. Just make sure you have the phone unplugged from its charger and to pull out the battery of your phone while the phone is on and running.

Some mobile phones are not build to have a removable battery. If your mobile is one of these types then you can’t perform a second level reset and you can head over to the other step in troubleshooting.

SIM Card Issue

SIM Card Issue

Keep in mind that not all mobile phones have SIM cards. If your mobile doesn’t have or need a SIM card to function properly then you can ignore this section of the article. If your mobile does require a SIM card then read this portion as problems with a SIM card can cause issues with your service.

Many mobile phones use SIM cards to connect or communicate with the phone’s wireless service provider. A SIM card is NOT working as a memory card or SD card but it is the main factor in some mobiles when they are getting an Emergency Calls Only error message as it is the thing that connects your mobile to the mobile network.

If you erase the SIM card from your mobile phone that was working efficiently then that phone no longer has any service and can show an Emergency Calls Only error message. So all you need is to check your SIM, if your mobile has one, and remember that there are no signs of damage and that the connectors are clean.

For the precautionary measure, you can erase the SIM card and wipe off the connectors with a pink eraser. Just remember that the SIM is neat and clean and that there are no signs of damage. If you see any signs of damage then try to get a replacement SIM.

Test Your SIM Card to fix Emergency Calls Only

If anyone in your family or social network use the same network as you do. Then you can also try your SIM card in their mobile and there SIM card in your mobile to check whether it’s a software or hardware issue. If you erase the SIM card from your mobile and put it into their mobile and their phone works fine you can rule out the SIM card as the issue. If you put your SIM card into their mobile and their phone also loses service and shows Emergency Calls Only then the issue is in your SIM and you need a replacement, and be good to go.

Location Issue

The issue also occurs when you are in an area where there are no signals. It only happens in specific areas then chances are this issue is because of a poor signal from your wireless network in that area.

Search For Networks

Search For Networks

Head over to your phones “Settings”. You can then click “Wireless and Networks” (note: you have to click “More networks” depending on the version of your mobile phone), click “Mobile networks”, then click “Network operators” and then if available click on “Search networks”.

Switch off your phone and then turn on and check if your service has returned.

If your mobile phone has its “Network operators” choice grayed out and does not enables you to open it to look for networks then this setting on your mobile is likely set up properly. Or you can avoid this step in troubleshooting.

Your Mobile Is Lost

If your phone was stolen or lost then your service provider is likely to block that phone’s IP address and secure it from having service much less enable it to make and receive calls. Wireless service providers do not want stolen mobiles to function properly as it encourages theft or fraud. So if your mobile is marked stolen or lost then only emergency calls are likely to allow forward.

Mobile Antennas Issue

Cell phones lack visible antennas but it doesn’t mean that antennas are not important today as they have always been as far as signal strength. Some mobiles have build-in antennas into the backplate of the mobile and if the backplate is erased or damaged then the issue occurs.

So if the battery cover is loose and no longer fits on your mobile then you want to contact the manufacture and view if you can buy a replacement backplate.

Mobile Damage

Mobile Damage

If your mobile was dropped then this issue occurs. Some mobile phones have an LDI that changes colors whenever the mobile exposed to enough moisture and causes damage.

If you are unsure if your mobile was exposed to moisture. You can then locate your mobile phones LDI. If it changes color other than white then it highlighted moisture and has a high chance of liquid damage.

Mobile Replacement

If you get a replacement mobile due to whatever reason and this phone is having the same issue. Then there might be a chance that the issue is NOT the result of a faulty device. But the issue is with the location or network that you are in.

Time Place & Environment

Congestion also causes issues with service as well. If you are a highly-populated area or at an event with many people then the issue occurs. The issue doesn’t usually cause emergency calls only but it can also affect your mobile service.

Software Issues

Third-Party Applications

Third party apps- Emergency Calls Only

Software issues on mobile phones are often related to the third-party apps that were installed or downloaded on the phone. If recently you downloaded an app around the time that this started happening on your mobile phone. Then try to uninstall the app from your mobile as that is most likely the cause of the issue.

Software Updates & Firmware

If an update is available to your mobile phone then you must upgrade your mobile to the latest model of Android or the current software available. As it goes the same for any apps on your device that might want to be updated as well.

Check Your Mobile IMEI

Well, it is the rare cause but check your mobile phones IMEI number to ensure that it is correct.

If you want to access your mobile IMEI number. You can then open your dial pad and rather than typing in a telephone number type in *#06#. The IMEI number pop-ups.

You can also compare the IMEI number that shows on the display screen to the IMEI that’s given on a sticker on the mobile which is added at the bottom of the mobile battery or in the cell phones SIM compartment. The IMEI number on the screen might have some additional digits compared to the given IMEI. But if the IMEIs can’t match up then the issue is with your phone’s identity.

Malware, Bugs, Or Viruses

viruses-Emergency Calls Only

Certainly, things occur that are outside of our control or might end up on our mobiles by accident. If a bad app or a file was installed online that puts brings virus on your phone. Then it can be difficult to track that file down and properly erase it from the device.

Clean Your Mobile Phone

The safest way to fix software related problem on your cell phone is to perform a factory data reset also called a hard reset. A hard reset removes everything from your mobile and puts it back to its factory default settings.

So a hard reset will clear any software issues, viruses, glitches, bad apps, etc. but it will also wipe all user data as well. Keep in mind don’t forget to backup all the information on your mobile before doing the hard reset. So that you can’t lose any important information.


‘Emergency calls only’ is the most irritating problem to have on your mobile phone. But if you follow this article then you will be one step forward while trying to locate the actual reason. Not just this, but also you’ll get your mobile working properly again.

I hope you found this article helpful. For further queries and questions let us know in the comment section below!

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