Calling somewhere, being put on hold for 15 minutes and up, is not very pleasant. Especially if you don't like the waiting music. Now I'm not talking about the "on hold" music people hear when they call me; I'm talking about the music I hear when I call customer service, etc.

Now as a programmer, I assume there is no such thing as a "protocol" for telephony that tells the smartphone if the user is on hold or not. But if there was, there would be a way to listen to my own music while waiting until an operator picks up my call.

But maybe someone figured out a way to make this possible? Does such app or feature exist, or is it as simple as that it's not implementable, because there is no way of retrieving information about whether or not the call is on hold?

  • No if you are on hold don't you just have an open connection as a normal phone line that just happens to have noone listening on it. No if they just let it ring then you can use call back etc. – user151019 Oct 5 '16 at 17:38
  • I'm aware that there is no straight forward solution for this. But how about audio recognition of music? I think I'm at least considering this possible. Hopefully without rooting the phone, because that's nothing I will do. But otherwise, if someone implemented this somehow, it would be a nice thing to have. – bytecode77 Oct 5 '16 at 17:40

This is not a way to replace annoying hold music, but is a potential solution to being annoyed by music heard when on hold.


WeQ4U is an app for iOS and Android (with an ugly name). Basically, you route all your calls through its numbers (included as local-rate minutes in plans) and, when you get into a queue with music, you simply hit *9 and the app continues queueing for you.

While there is no protocol for saying when you're on hold and voice recognition is imperfect, I believe the app asks the call agent to use some touch tone command to indicate when you've left the queue and then the app reconnects you. You can see an example of it working in this video.

So you never have to hear the music at all and in fact you can listen to your own music or do anything you want in the mean time. It's a free app, the calls are normal rate (it redirects from premium numbers too) and you use fewer minutes as it calls you back once you're off hold. So yes, I'd have to say such an app or feature does exist.

I believe this only currently works for UK numbers but there's no technical reason why it can't exist worldwide.

  • Hm. I know such apps, which are used to record phone calls. The fact that they cost money and being in a queue 15+ minutes long, possibly multiple times because of interruptions does not work well together. Also requiring the party at the other end to follow instructions in order to continue the phone call is not reasonable, imo. If the other end doesn't know how to handle this *9-thing, it would often lead to others to think you left. This is a good answer, but I will leave the question open. Let's see what else comes :) – bytecode77 Oct 5 '16 at 17:56
  • 1
    This app is completely free. In fact it saves you money as you use fewer minutes and it automatically routes from premium numbers to free equivalents. I've personally used it dozens of times without issue. Given the person who has to follow the instructions (this is my guess to how it works, it might have more advanced logic) is the person who should be serving you, it's very likely they will reconnect the call. It's not failed me yet. The problem with your suggestion of audio recognition of music is that often the hold music is regularly interrupted with a pre-recorded voice message. – Turkeyphant Oct 5 '16 at 18:04

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