When the network is not available on my phone, it says "emergency calls only". It means that even if I'm in the middle of the desert, with no towers in the vicinity, I can dial the emergency number.

How can emergency calls get connected through, without any cellular signal available?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about cellphone network coverage, and not physics. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Feb 27 '15 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ Telecommunication is a part of physics. And this site was the closest bet, I could post on. I couldn't find a more appropriate Stack Exchange site. $\endgroup$ Feb 27 '15 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ Not finding a better site is not a reason to post something here. And if you don't ask about the physics behind telecommunication, it will almost always be off-topic as engineering/not physics. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Feb 27 '15 at 16:52

When your phone says that no network is available, it actually means that your network is not available. Fortunately though, mobile phones can make emergency calls on any network, and so if it finds another network then it can make emergency calls on that.

If no network is available whatsoever (e.g. out in the desert) then you cannot make emergency calls.

As a side note: emergency service operators receive more calls on Christmas day than any other. The reason? Because people like to test their new mobile phones on Christmas day before they have a network setup, so they briefly dial 911 (or whatever).

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    $\begingroup$ Just wondering, why is the link to the wikipedia page for misanthropy? $\endgroup$
    – Joshua Lin
    Feb 27 '15 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ I am wondering too... -_- $\endgroup$ Feb 27 '15 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ because people are awful. $\endgroup$
    – hft
    Feb 27 '15 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ Note that this doesnt mean that when the phone offers you to do an emergency call, that then actually any other network is available, the button/link/icon is just there, in case. $\endgroup$
    – PlasmaHH
    Feb 27 '15 at 10:10

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