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Telephone call

A telephone call is a connection over a telephone network between the calling party and the called party. A telephone call may consist of an ordinary voice transmission using a telephone, a data transmission when the calling party and called party are using modems, or a facsimile transmission when the two parties are using fax machines.

Where a telephone call has more than one called party it is referred to as a conference call.

Calls are usually placed through a network (such as the Public Switched Telephone Network) provided by a commercial company. If the caller's wireline phone is directly connected to the calling party, when the caller takes their telephone off-hook, the calling party's phone will ring. This is called a hot line. Otherwise, the calling party is usually given a tone to indicate they should begin dialing the desired number. In some (now very rare) cases, the calling party cannot dial calls directly, and is connected to an operator who places the call for them.

Some types of calls are not charged, such as [[local call]s dialed directly by a telephone subscriber in the United States or Hong Kong. In most other areas, all telephone calls are charged a fee for the connection. Fees are charged telephone calls depending on the provider of the service, the type of service being used (a call placed from a hardline or wired telephone will have one rate, and a call placed from a cellular telephone will have a different rate), and the distance between the calling and the called parties. In most circumstances, the calling party pays this fee, however, in some circumstances such as a reverse charge or collect call, the called party pays the cost of the call. In some circumstances, the caller pays a flat rate charge for the telephone connection and does not pay any additional charge for all calls made.

Preceding, during, and after a telephone call is placed, certain tones signify the progress and status of the telephone call: