Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

Your cellphone may be the first thing you checked this morning, and the last thing you grabbed before you ran out the door. You can’t go anywhere without it. So, you might wonder, “If my phone goes out of battery or the service is disconnected, could I still use it?”

You are able to use your phone if it is disconnected. You will not be able to use functions such as making direct calls and text messages. Outside of calls and text, all the other functions of your phones such as music and video streaming will still be available.

phone disconnected

I will explain to you the various ways phones get disconnected and guide you through various tests you can perform in order to assess whether it is disconnected.

I will then explain the functions that your phone can and cannot perform without service, as well as suggest alternatives to compensate for the functions that your phone cannot perform.

Whether it is enough to make up for the usual services provided by your telecommunication company is for you to decide.

Why Is Your Phone Disconnected?

There are various reasons for your phone getting disconnected. A disconnected phone service means that your service provider has removed the connection to your phone for a variety of reasons.

You or the owner of the phone may have requested that your phone is disconnected.

Another reason you may have a disconnected phone is an existing outstanding balance on the account. Telecommunication companies often use this method to encourage customers to clear their balances in order to continue enjoying their services.

Your phone may also be disconnected if you have not used your phone in over 6 months. In order to prevent this from happening, ensure to keep the phone active by sending one or two text messages or making some phone calls.

If you neglect to use your phone, eventually your service provider will disconnect and put your phone number back into the number pool for someone else to eventually have.

How Can You Tell if Your Phone Is Disconnected?

Here, I will ask you to perform a series of tests on your phone so that you can understand whether your phone is disconnected.

You can also send a series of text messages to your phone . Give the phone some time to receive the messages. It may be taking a while to be received by your phone. However, if you haven’t received them after a few minutes, then your phone may be disconnected.

Firstly, use another phone and call your phone number. If you don’t get the call, try a few more times at different time  intervals in order to rule out the possibility that your phone service is merely down.

If the phone does not ring, then it may be disconnected.

Also, when you make these calls, if they don’t make your phone ring, listen to the automated voice message. If the phone goes to voicemail, then it means the account is still active.

If the phone is disconnected, the automated message will say “This phone number [number stated here] is disconnected.”

Another way is to check whether your service is disconnected is to manually select the network. First, restart the phone. Go to “Settings” then tap on Mobile Networks”.

Afterward, click on “Network Operators”. Your phone will scan for cellular connections. Once the options come up, click on your provider. Sometimes the signal in your area drops which will cause your phone to behave as though it is disconnected.

However, if service has not returned after the reboot then it is likely your phone is disconnected.

Of course, the quickest way to find out whether your phone is disconnected is to make a call to your service provider and inquire about the account. They can inform you whether their end has registered the phone as disconnected. If they have, they can also let you know the reason.

Can You Still Use Your Phone Without Service?

If you want to make regular calls as you did through your service provider, you will not be able to do so. You also won’t be able to receive calls. As inbound calls are real-time, a phone that has been disconnected will not receive the call.

However, once service is returned to your phone, some service providers will have logs of the calls you missed. But this is not always the case.

Rest assured though; you are still able to use your phone without service. You will not be able to make calls through your service provider. However, the phone can still perform its other functions.

Your apps can still be used through Wi-Fi. In fact, there are a series of phone call apps you can use to make calls even if your phone is disconnected.

In fact, if your phone carrier restricts or reduces Wi-Fi service to your phone so that you use an alternative telephone service, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. This only applies if a U.S. carrier provides the service.

Examples of apps you can use include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Google Duo. The only drawback with using this method is that whoever you’re calling will have to have the same app installed as well.

Internet calling apps don’t have the ability to make or receive calls across apps.

Also, remember some of these applications, like WhatsApp, use your phone number in order to create an account. Remember I said before, that if the connection is not restored, your number will return to the number pool.

The FCC requires that a minimum of forty-five days need to pass before a phone carrier may reassign a phone number that has been permanently disconnected.

Once the phone number is reassigned, these apps will not be useful. If you believe your phone will be disconnected for more than forty-five days, I would recommend using apps that don’t require your phone number to sign in.

Other functions that your phone can perform without connection include music and video streaming, sending and receiving emails and all of its other basic functions. Phone disconnection only affects calling and text messaging services.

Can You Still Receive Text Messages if Your Phone Is Disconnected?

Unlike phone calls that are real-time, when a text message is sent, the source service provider stores that message and attempts to send it to the receiving provider.

You cannot receive them while your phone is disconnected though. They will be stored with the source service providers for a limited time.

The time varies depending on the company. It can range anywhere between a few days to a few months.

As mentioned before, you can send and receive text messages using a Wi-Fi connection . Social Media apps usually have text messaging features.


Your phone can still function even though it is disconnected. Through Wi-Fi, it will be able to stream music or videos. It can send and receive emails. It can perform a host of other functions. Its primary function though, which is making and receiving calls will not be available.

There are apps however, that can make calls using a Wi-Fi connection . These apps also offer texting services. You cannot receive text messages sent to your phone, while it is disconnected.