Call waiting

What does call waiting means? – Dstny explains!

Sometimes you want to know if you have calls waiting. For example, if you get stuck in a longer phone call to book a doctors appointment while also waiting for another call. If you have the Call Waiting activated, it will let you know, while busy on the phone, that another call is coming your way. This helps ensure that you don’t miss any important calls while you’re currently already in one.

If you use the call waiting function on a telephone with display, or in a softphone, you can also, in some cases, see who the incoming call comes from.

How does call waiting work?

The call waiting feature can be used on most phones to make sure you don’t miss any important calls. You can have the function on mobile phones, many fixed telephony solutions and in your Softphone, ie your phone in the computer.

When a call is waiting, you hear two discreet tones that alert you that someone else is trying to reach you. Call waiting can be a very good feature for those who want to avoid missing important calls.

  • Helps you avoid missing important calls
  • See directly in the display who’s calling
  • The function is usually a standard in both mobile and landline phones
  • Activate it yourself or with help from your carrier
  • Works on both landline and mobile phones
  • Two discrete tones notify you when there is an incoming call
  • A function that is usually free

Do you need to activate call waiting?

It may vary a bit from phone to phone if you need to activate the function yourself to hear if calls are waiting or not. In many cases, it is already activated as a default choice directly in the phone. But sometimes you need to to your settings and activate call waiting yourself to ensure you don’t miss any important calls. If you are unsure, you can always double check and go to your settings on your mobile phone, where it is usually possible to see if it is activated or not. You also can always contact your carrier and ask them to help you activate it if the settings are not directly in the phone.

Enable call waiting on iPhone

If you have an iPhone, you will find calls waiting under settings. Click the Settings app. Then click Phone. There you will then find the call waiting option, click Call waiting and activate the selection. Now call waiting is activated on your iPhone.


Use the functions that you have

There are several different functions that are offered with telephony today. You need to activate some of them yourself but they’re also free. Waiting calls is a function that can be of value for companies but also individuals that don’t want to miss important calls from customers or authorities. Let’s say you have an ongoing phone meeting with a client, but it runs overtime while you have the next meeting incoming. This ensures that you will be notified that the next meeting is about to begin so you can smoothly end your previous one.

Easy to get started

Calls waiting is a function that doesn’t require any work from the user other than activating the service. And while activated, you can feel safe that it’s there to help you out. If your doctor should call during the day while you’re on the phone, you can still answer.

If you don’t have the service and want to activate it can vary depending on what carrier you have. If you don’t know how to do it you can always get help fast. The service is in general easy to activate directly without doing anything yourself other than restarting your phone.

See who’s calling

Most phones today, whether mobile or landline, have a display. If you hear those two beeps during a call you can check the display to see who’s calling. It helps you choose if you should stay in the ongoing call or pick up the new one.

Call waiting can be extremely useful for companies that want to save time. If a customer that you’ve been trying to reach for a while is calling while you’re in another call, you can easily pick up. You can therefore avoid chasing the person that you wan’t to get in touch with.

Call waiting gives you the choice of answering or not. Maybe you’re waiting for an important call but see that the person but see that the person you don’t want to talk to trying to reach you while you’re on the line – then you don’t have to answer

Shared lines

When a call is waiting, an audible signal is created at the receiver. Because of this, waiting calls can cause dial-up Internet connections to cease. Therefore, the function of shared voice lines used for dial-up modems is often disabled. Call waiting, on the other hand, has no effect on DSL connections.

Call waiting – history

So when did we start using call waiting? The feature was introduced in North America in the early 1970s. At the same time as the first generation of electric PBX was built by Western Electric. It was Electronic Signaling System 1 that started to replace an older generation of mechanical PBXes. Initially, some smaller municipalities could offer their companies the call waiting function on a specific telephone exchange. For example, phone customers in Trenton (Michigan) had to have a phone number that started at 671 in order to use call waiting. This is because the phone numbers that started with 671 were the only ones in the area supported by the new Electronic Signaling System (ESS) PBX. But the need grew from the customers and ever since the old switches were replaced more and more people got access to calls waiting.

During the same period, call waiting were also launched around Europe. In Europe, the function came together with the first digital PBX systems such as Ericsson AX, Alcatel E10 and System 12. Other digital systems also supported the service, for example System X which is located in the UK. During the 1980s, PBX systems, such as the German Siemens / Bosch EWSD, received calls waiting.