April 18, 2024


Telecom Department To Stop USSD Call Forwarding From April 15. Here's Why

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has recently taken a step to tackle the surge in online fraud cases across the country. They have made it mandatory for telecom operators to deactivate USSD-based call forwarding services nationwide from April 15, 2024, in response to various incidents of fraud stemming from illegal call forwarding. 

“It has been decided by the competent authority that all licensees shall discontinue the existing USSD-based call forwarding services with effect from 15.04.2024 till further notice,” read the notice by the DoT.

What is USSD call forwarding?

USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) call forwarding is a feature on phones that lets you redirect incoming calls from one number to another. Instead of using settings, you can dial specific codes (*401#) on your phone to activate or deactivate it. It comes in handy for features such as checking balances, getting device information like IMEI, forwarding calls to another phone or sending them to voicemail.

Why is USSD call forwarding being deactivated?

The decision comes in response to the rising concerns regarding fraudulent activities and misuse of the call forwarding feature as well as due to increasing online scams. 

How does it affect users?

If you currently have call forwarding activated on your number, you will need to reactivate it once the service is suspended. The DoT stated that users will have to use alternate methods to activate call forwarding, although these methods have not been specified yet. Telecom companies will now need to offer alternative ways for users to manage call forwarding. 

Since the DoT has only requested the suspension of the service and not its permanent removal, there are speculations that the system might be reintroduced in the future in a more secure form, with better security measures to prevent misuse and fraud.


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