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iPhone 3-way conference call feature not working? The fix is in!

iPhone 3-way conference call feature not working? The fix is in!

AT&T iPhone customers may experience a problem when attempting to use the device’s Merge Calls functionality. The reason behind the issue will likely ruffle a few feathers, but the solution is fairly straightforward.

After purchasing my iPhone 3GS a month ago, I was like a little kid on Christmas with a fancy new toy. I had to try everything out at least once and sloppily drool over all the cool things it could do. Then I hit a roadblock: the iPhone’s conference calling feature (also known as 3-way calling) did not work! No matter how many times I tried, merging the calls was not happening. I decided to wait a week or two to see if the problem might work itself out – perhaps it was just a glitch related to the activation of my new account? No such luck.

About a week ago I decided to contact AT&T customer support to see what the deal was. Apple prominently advertises 3-way conference calling as a feature of the iPhone, so there had to be something wrong that was causing this problem to occur. I emailed AT&T and received a prompt response 4 hours later. It turns out conference calling is not enabled on iPhone accounts by default! Here are snippets from AT&T’s response:

Thank you for taking the time to e-mail AT&T regarding not being able to use 3 way/conference calling on your iPhone because AT&T does not automatically enable this service and you would like this service added to the [phone number removed]. My name is [name removed], and I am happy to help you with your inquiry.

I apologize that the 3-way/conferencing calling feature is not automatically provisioned for your 3GS iPhone. I have added the services effective [removed date]. Please power your phone off for 60 seconds then power your phone back on. Attempt to make a conference call on your iPhone.

Sure enough, I restarted my iPhone and was successfully hosting a 3-way conference call within seconds using the Merge Calls function. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly AT&T customer care handled my inquiry, but baffled as to why it needed to be done in the first place. Why are they not enabling conference calling automatically on all iPhone accounts? Wouldn’t it be simpler to activate the feature from the start by default rather than field large volumes of customer service requests? Whatever the reason, at least there is a known solution for fixing iPhones that won’t merge calls.

If you’re interested in contacting AT&T customer care about this issue yourself, here are the simple steps I took to get it addressed within hours – and without talking to a single person on the phone.

  1. Log in to your AT&T myWireless online account. If you aren’t already registered, now might be the time to do it. It’s free and gives you convenient access to all of your account information.
  2. Once you’re logged in, click on the Contact Us link towards the top of the page (next to where it says “Logged in as: [Your Name]”.
  3. On the next page, click the E-mail Us link under the Customer Service heading.
  4. Enter your contact information now if it’s not already filled in, and click Next.
  5. Choose “Phone” as the Email Subject, “I have a question about a feature” as Sub-topic 1, and click Next.
  6. Fill in the rest of the form and be sure to say that you’re using an iPhone and you want 3-way conference calling enabled on your AT&T account. You might also want to mention that the phone itself is working fine, just in case they get confused and think you have a defective unit.

Send off your request and AT&T will normally respond within 24 hours (possibly longer during the weekend). As mentioned earlier in this post, I received my response in just 4 hours and the matter was taken care of with no further involvement on my part. Maybe if enough people bug AT&T about activating 3-way conference calling they will get the hint and start enabling the service when iPhone accounts are first opened.

Feel free to share your experiences with AT&T support in the comments below! It will be interesting to find out if they make activating conference calling just as easy for everyone else.

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12 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Thanks alot for this! I have been trying to figure out why merging calls wasn’t working on my iPhone. Now it makes sense. I have a question though. Does AT&T charge more for this to be added to my account?

No, AT&T does not charge extra on your monthly bill when you contact them to enable this service. It is worth mentioning, however, that each person in the conference call is counted as a separate call. So if you have a 3-way call going (yourself, Person A, and Person B) you will be racking up minutes for both Person A and Person B. That means a 20 minute conference call will eat up 40 minutes of your plan. This makes sense, but I figured it might be good to explain just in case there was any confusion.

Kevin E.McKenna
July 21st, 2009, 5:37 PM

Why is no one screaming high holly hell about the Voice Mail issues?

I have had over 100 + calls since 6/29 and not 1 voice mail?????

If you get VM’s they come in groups from days gone by…. something badly broken with AT&T beyond 3 way calling.

Amanda, Tech Support
November 5th, 2009, 6:32 PM

if you are having the Visual Voicemail issue on your IPhone, it is because you downloaded a tethering profile on your phone. there are no tethering profiles that have been approved by Apple or AT&T yet. You have to delete it if u want VVM to work.

To remove:
Settings>General>Profiles>US/ATT>Remove>Remove Profile.

Then you must Reset your Network Settings:
Settings>General>Reset>Reset Network Settings.

Your phone will turn off/on. This should resolve your issue.

Thank you so much for your help with this. I even went to the apple store for this issue. A sales rep showed me how to do it on one of the store demo iphone. But when I tried on my iphone, it off course did not work. I don’t think he knew that the feature is enable!

I just emailed AT&T. Let’s see if it will be just as fast as for you.

I had the same problem too and called ATT customer service. They enabled the provision for me in my 3gs phone.

It worked just as described! Thanks!

i have iph 4s and i cant merge incoming calls please help

my merge icon will not light up wnen i get incoming callers im wit sprint please help

Hi, can you please help me with the email address at which i need to send the email to get this “Merge Calls” thing activated ?? I surfed the website a lot, however, i am unable to find the email address for Customer support.

i am in jamaica and my i phone 4s wont merge any calls help me plz

How do I do a 3way call on me iphone because everytime I add a call it goes beep beep beep and won’t let me how do I fix this?