TECH BYTE: How to Make a Call Without Cell Service


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Christmas day explosion in downtown Nashville caused many to lose their cell phone service for days.

Most of us can’t live without our cell phones, so if a cell network is down, it feels like the world is ending.

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If you’re off the grid, you can take advantage of plenty of smartphone apps and other ways to still make phone calls.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer, you just need a wireless Internet connection to make a FaceTime call to another Apple user. You can do it over video, or even just make it a voice call if you don’t feel like video chatting.

iMessages work over WiFi too if you just want to write a message to someone instead of calling them.

As for apps not already included with your Apple product, you have so many to choose from to make a voice call, or even video chat.

You’re probably already using Skype or Zoom for meetings while working from home.

Facebook Messenger even lets you do voice calls. You can also video chat with anyone on Instagram – even if they don’t have the app.

Other popular ones that are good to have are Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp.

With Hangouts, you can do a group chat with up to 150 people.

Use it to call any phone number in the world, and calls to other Hangouts users are free.

WhatsApp is also great for reaching someone internationally if needed. There’s no extra charge to message them from around the globe.

If you don’t want to download anymore apps, you could always just use the WiFi calling feature on your phone.

Turn it on or off in your phone’s settings. Just make sure it’s set up with your network, and can actually work on your device.

If you’re traveling, WiFi calling does work in most international countries.

If you’ve had a smartphone for awhile, you more than likely have most of these apps already.

And the good news is if you lose cell service, most places have free WiFi if you get in a bind.

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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’