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Call forwarding is a phone feature that enables users to forward or redirect incoming calls to any alternate number, which may be either a land line or cellular number. Users are also provided with options to divert incoming calls to voice mails. Phones can be set to divert calls without ringing; a diversion can also happen when lines are busy, calls are not answered, or phones are switched off. Phones can also be set to divert calls in the absence of network coverage. This feature is widely used in mobile technology.
Call forwarding is also known as call diversion.
In the U.S., the forwarded line rings once to remind customers using call forwarding about the redirection of the call. Most often, the forwarded line indicates its condition by stutter dial tones. In Europe, networks indicate active unconditional call forwarding with special dial tones; when the phone is picked up, the user will know that calls are being forwarded.
Most of call forwarding is included at no extra cost to customers. However, for certain plans, forwarded calls might include an extra charge. Forwarding calls to another number, if the dialed number is busy or not answering, is absolutely free. This is generally called conditional forwarding.
A majority of European fixed line carriers use codes based on the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) or Committee of European Posts and Telephones standard. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) phones follow GSM-standard forwarding codes developed by ETSI.