What is Call Forwarding? Everything you need to know

Two phones showing what is forwarding calls and how call forwarding works.

Have you ever missed a valuable call just because of your unavailability? Imagine you’re on a well-deserved beach vacation, your phone tucked away in a safe. Yet, some calls keep bombarding your phone which makes it frustrating.

Whether you’re a business professional or an individual, missing important phone calls can be inconvenient and sometimes even costly. This is where call forwarding comes into play.

Telecom operators such as Jio, Airtel, Vi, and BSNL offer to call forwarding aka call diverting services to all users so that they can never miss a call, regardless of their location or circumstances.

So, what exactly call forwarding or diverting is? How does it work? Keep reading as we will deep dive into what is call forwarding and everything you need to know.

What is call forwarding?

Call forwarding is a telecommunication feature that allows you to redirect incoming calls from one phone number to another. Telecom operators in India such as Jio, Airtel, BSNL, and Vi offer this service for free to users which essentially enables you to receive calls made to a specific number on another device or phone number of your choice.

For instance, if your mobile phone is switched off, or it is out of network coverage area, or your number remains busy due to more calls, you can forward or divert any call to any number by using the call forwarding on your phone.


How does call forwarding work?

The forwarding of calls is a fairly simple process. Suppose you’ve set a call forwarding, when someone calls your number, the call is automatically forwarded, subject to the predetermined conditions, to the assigned forwarding number. You can do this through your phone’s settings or your provider, and depending on your needs, you can set up either a temporary or permanent forwarding.

What are the methods of call forwarding?

For the telecom operator call forwarding, there are mainly two methods for it:

  1. Call forwarding from device settings
  2. Call forwarding by dialing USSD codes

Benefits of call forwarding

1. Never miss important calls

Forwarding specific important calls to your separate number aids in keeping peace of mind even without missing your favorite ones’ calls.

2. Stay connected when working from home

Call forwarding is a huge help for customer service for businesses. Even if you’re working from home, forwarding the business calls to your personal number makes sure that calls from customers are never missed, which increases client loyalty and satisfaction.

3. Enhanced flexibility

Forwarding a call can help you get free of multiple devices’ calls as you can easily redirect them to a suitable one.


Type of call forwarding

There are various types, or better say conditions, of call forwarding where each serves different purposes:

1. Always Forward

If you select this option, all incoming calls to your phone will be forwarded to the number to which you want to forward or divert calls.

2. When busy

If you select this option, incoming calls will be forwarded only when your phone is busy. This means, for instance, if you’re on a phone call with someone else and a call comes into your phone, then it will be diverted to another number.

3. When unanswered

If you choose this option, a call will only be redirected if you do not answer it on your phone. This means, that in case you miss a call, it will be redirected to your preferred number, which will ultimately give you a second chance to pick up the call.

4. When unreachable

This option indicates that if your phone is outside of the network service area or is turned off for any reason, when a call comes in, it will be routed to another number.

5. Selective Call Forwarding

Selective Call Forwarding allows you to choose specific numbers to forward, ensuring only selected calls are redirected.


Call forwarding vs diverting: The difference

Now that we know what call forwarding is, the term “call diverting” is something that still confuses people more frequently.

Although “call forwarding” and “call diverting” are frequently used synonymously, their technical definitions differ slightly. Now, with that being said, let’s jump right to the difference between call diverting and call forwarding:

Call Forwarding: It is a broader term for any service that forwards incoming calls to an alternate number is call forwarding. It addresses a number of particular forwarding guidelines, such as “simultaneous call forwarding,” “conditional call forwarding,” and “unconditional call forwarding.”

Call Diverting: This is the term used to describe the automatic redirection of calls based on pre-defined conditions. It has a slightly more specific definition.

The difference

The difference between call forwarding and call diverting is similar to a root and its branch. Think of it this way, call forwarding is the entire genre, while call diverting is a specific sub-genre within it. Both achieve the same result of redirecting calls, but call diverting emphasizes the automated and conditional nature of the redirection.


Does call forwarding cost extra?

Not usually, a call forwarding cost depends on your telecom operator or service provider and the chosen plan. If you're using Jio, Airtel, Vi, BSNL or any Indian telecom service with an active plan, the call forwarding will be free at all.

Can I forward calls to international numbers?

Yes, but international call rates may apply as they usually don't come with regular plans. You will be required to recharge mobile operator service with valid international plans.

Is call forwarding available on all phone plans?

Yes, call forwarding is available on all phone plans as most modern phone plans and carriers offer call forwarding as a standard feature.

Can I cancel call forwarding easily?

Yes, you can cancel call forwarding easily in few steps as most telecom operators and service providers offer deactivation through similar codes or device settings as activation.

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