Did you recently place a call to someone, only to hear a message similar to the following?

  • “The number you have dialed has calling restrictions.”
  • “The person you are calling cannot accept calls at this time.”
  • “The number you have dialed has been restricted.”

This can be confusing, especially since it’s not a message you hear often.

Thankfully, there’s actually a pretty simple explanation behind it. In this article I’ll cover what it means, why it happens, and how you can get past it so you can contact the person anyway!

What Does It Mean When A Call Says ‘The Number You Have Dialed Has Calling Restrictions?’

Person Using Phone And Computer

If a number has calling restrictions, this means that it is only allowing certain groups of people to call it. This is done at the carrier level, so numbers that don’t meet the criteria automatically have their calls fail to go through.

For example, someone may place a calling restriction to only allow calls from numbers that share the same area code.

In a moment, I’ll go over some example reasons why someone may place calling restrictions also sometimes known as ‘call barring.’ However it’s important to know that these restrictions often prevent calls from a large number of people at once, and in some cases, only specific numbers are allowed to go through.

Note that this issue can occur regardless of which carrier you use – it’s been reported on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and many others.

This is because the issue is most commonly caused by the other person’s number, rather than your own. So, while the exact error message you receive can vary, this issue is not carrier-specific.

Why Would Someone Put Calling Restrictions In Place?

People may place calling restrictions for any reason they deem fit. However, let’s look over some of the most common reasons people place calling restrictions, which may provide some insight as to why you received this message.

1. To Prevent Charges On Their Phone Bill

This is a big one.

Many service providers still charge extra for long-distance or international calls, which can very quickly add up to sizeable amounts of money.

By restricting calls only to your local area, you prevent calls from coming through that can cost you any sort of extra money. If this has been an issue for you in the past, it may be worth doing.

2. To Avoid Telemarketers And Spammers

Even without additional calls, some people may place call restrictions to limit the amount of spam calls they receive.

For example, call restricting is common for businesses that only serve one specific area – there is little reason to accept calls from across this country, if you only provide service to your local city.

These businesses often receive spam calls from telemarketers all around the country to try and promote products or services to them that they have no interest in.

Therefore, by restricting calls to only their local area codes, they can prevent most telemarketing calls, while still being able to accept calls from their customers or clients.

3. To Allow Only Certain Numbers To Reach Them

Finally, some people set up very strict calling restrictions with their carrier, that only allow individual numbers to reach them.

Some examples may include government offices, who have no need to talk with or accept calls from the general public. Instead, their phones are only used for internal communications.

Alternatively, a parent may set up calling restrictions, so only their parents, relatives and trusted friends are able to place calls to them.

Again, call restrictions can be very broad, or very specific – it’s all up to your preferences!

How To Make Sure The Problem Isn’t On Your End

If you’re experiencing this issue while calling several different numbers or you want to make sure that the problem isn’t with your specific phone, there are a few things worth trying.

First of all, restart your phone fully, turning it all the way off and all the way back on. This powers down all components of your phone, and forces your phone to reconnect to your cellular network as soon as it turns back on.

Secondly, make sure that you’ve dialed the correct area code of the number that you’re trying to call. If you have the phone number right but you’re using the wrong area code or country code, this can prevent the call from going through correctly.

Next, try calling the person with a different phone number, if you’re able to. This will help pinpoint whether the issue is with your specific number, or if the person is restricting calls in a broader manner.

Finally, if nothing else works and you continue to experience call restriction messages while calling several different people (even if other people are able to call the number just fine), contact your cellular provider for assistance. They will be able to help diagnose and pinpoint the issue, as they have far more information and resources available to aid with this.

In some cases, damaged SIM cards can cause issues with placing calls, so they may opt to send you a replacement as well. To learn the signs of a damaged SIM card, click here!

Oh and yes, you can get a new SIM card and still keep the same phone number, so this isn’t something to worry about.

Does Getting A Calling Restriction Mean That You’re Blocked?

No, getting a message stating that the receiver has calling restrictions in place does not mean that you’re blocked.

In fact, the person likely never knew that you called in the first place.

Calling restrictions are typically used to place very wide nets – for example, rejecting everybody outside of a certain area, or only allowing approved contacts to get through.

So, it’s extremely unlikely that the person decided to restrict you from calling specifically. Instead, your number simply didn’t match the criteria necessary for the call to go through.

Therefore, you definitely shouldn’t take this personally!

How To Reach Them, Even With Calling Restrictions In Place

If there’s someone you need to reach but you keep getting the calling restrictions message when you try to call, don’t worry!

Thankfully, you have a few options.

The first is to try texting the number, rather than calling it. Many modern smartphones (such as iPhones, for example) send messages to other phones over the internet. For example, Apple has their iMessage service to send messages between other iOS devices.

These messages don’t actually operate over SMS, which goes through your carrier’s network. Instead, they operate over the internet.

If a service like this isn’t available however, you may consider using another internet-based service to reach them.

For example, sending them a message through a platform like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp. Many of these platforms have audio call features built in that also go over the internet, and can bypass their carrier entirely.

(This is why Facebook and Instagram calls don’t show up on your phone bill, for example.)

Finally, if all of these services aren’t available and all you’ve got is their phone number, you can try downloading an app like TextNow.

TextNow allows you to select a separate phone number, and send messages / place calls through their app.

For best results, choose an area code that matches theirs when signing up for TextNow – or change your TextNow number to their area code if you already have an account.


If a number you’ve dialed has calling restrictions, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get through to it – your call is being restricted at the carrier level, and the other person likely has no idea that you ever tried to call them.

However, you may consider sending a text message to them, or contacting them via another method. Because many text services offer over the internet rather than through the carrier, it’s likely that your message will end up reaching them.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s answered your questions. If you have any other questions about calling restrictions, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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