Call Forwarding Explained

Tranferring Calls to Another Phone or Device

Take the call from me
Call Forwarding. Max Oppenheim / Getty Images

Call forwarding is a feature in modern telephony that allows you to transfer an incoming call to another phone or to another service. You can, for instance, choose to not answer a call and forward the call to a colleague or to voicemail. It is one of the basic features in traditional PSTN telephony but has evolved into an interesting tool for individuals and especially businesses with VoIP systems.

The call forwarding feature is also often called 'call transfer'.

Scenarios for Call Forwarding 

To better understand call forwarding, what it can do and how it ​can help you, let us consider some typical scenarios. 

  • You are moving out and leaving an empty home or office and at the same time, you don't want to miss any incoming call on the home or office phone number. Your phone service provider can activate call forwarding on your line to your mobile number, such that when the phone rings a certain number of times without an answer, the call is automatically transferred to your mobile phone. This way, you answer calls to your home or office number while not being there. 
  • You can do the same thing on a mobile phone or smartphone. If calls to a number are so important, tweak the phone with that number to forward to a second phone in case there is no answer, so as to prevent a missed call. This happens often between spouses or business partners. 
  • Businesses can channel calls to the appropriate persons or departments through call forwarding based on the extensions dialed by the caller. This is often achieved through IVRs and PBX systems. Customers call the hotline, get informed by the IVR about the different options, then dials the extension for the desired department, and gets connected there. 
  • You can use virtual numbers to hide your number in case you don't want a segment of people who have to call you to do so through you personal number. You can set up a virtual number that will forward calls to your private number. Then, you have people call the virtual number whenever they need you.
  • Virtual numbers can also help save money on calls. If you call very frequently to a remote or overseas area to which calls are expensive or receive calls therefrom, communication cost for you and your correspondents, who may be parents or friends back home,  can be quite high. You can have a virtual number in that locality to which people call you. The call is transferred to you wherever you are. The callers will pay local rates since they have dialed a local number. This also works the other way round when you have to call very often to a locality in which you have a local number
  • You can forward a call to several telephones if you want to be able to choose where the answer the call from - your smartphone, home phone, computer or tablet. 
  • You can also choose not to answer certain phone calls at all and have the calls directed to voicemail

Services For Call Forwarding 

iNum is a great international service for call forwarding.

It makes the world seems like a local village and gives the user a worldwide presence. iNum is one of the most prominent services that offer virtual numbers

You can also have your calls transferred to multiple phones. Here is how to obtain a number that rings multiple phones. One of the solutions includes the well known Google Voice

Was this page helpful?