TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Unanswered Calls to Cell Phones

Re: Unanswered Calls to Cell Phones

Anthony Bellanga (
Mon, 26 Dec 2005 08:16:26 -0700

PAT: Please DELETE my email address WHERE-EVER it might appear! wrote:

> If you call a cellphone (without voicemail) and it doesn't answer,
> after a few rings an intercept recording will come on and tell you
> the party is not available and terminate the call.

> When you reach that recording, is that call chargeable? I don't
> think it should be since it was unanswered, but my experience is
> that one does get charged.

> A few years ago I was meeting a friend at a convention, and I was
> to call his cell phone from a pay phone upon my arrival. His cell
> phone number was long distance from that point. I called a few
> times using my Calling Card but couldn't reach him and I was billed
> for the calls. I complained and they took it off.

> Now I realize most people today have such low per-call fees (ie 10c)
> so this isn't an issue, but there are times from a pay phone, long
> distance, or peak period cell phone roaming where the per-call
> charge is indeed significant, even as much as a dollar or more per
> minute.

And using a calling card from a payphone can be significant these
days since the payphone owner can now "legally" extort huge charges
from the long distance carrier or card provider, who will then extort
those surcharges from us.

> It doesn't seem to fair to charge for unanswered calls. I don't
> know if traditional supervision (call answered) signals are passed
> back from cell phone switches.

Answer supervision is indeed passed back from cellular service
switches. But remember that these days (and even in times past as
well), standardization is not perfect. And it isn't always consistant
as to which cellular providers will supervise back your calls to
such messages. It can vary from switch to switch within the same
cellular provider as to whether you are charged or not for reaching
such a "subscriber not available" (vacant) message.

Even with traditional landline providers, sometimes you can find a
charge condition on reaching intercepts (which are really the digit
by digit quote back systems), and "vacant condition" recordings. And
as I said, there were times this happened even in years past, back
when the telephone industry in the US was still mostly managed by
AT&T and Bell.

If you are concerned, make a note of such calls, and check to see
if they were indeed billed when the bill arrives. And then complain
to your long distance company or card provider to get a credit.

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