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DoT directs deactivation of USSD-based call forwarding by April 15

The Department of Telecom has asked telecom operators to deactivate USSD-based call forwarding with effect from April 15 and move to alternative methods to re-activate it, an official order said. Mobile subscribers use USSD service just by dialling any active code on their phone screens. The service is often used for checking IMEI numbers and mobile phone balances, among others.

The order has been issued to check frauds and online crimes that are operated through mobile phones. In an order dated March 28, the DoT said that it has come to its notice that USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) based call forwarding facility, most commonly known *401# services for unconditional call forwarding services, is being misused for some unwarranted activities.

“In this regard, it has been decided by the competent authority that all licensees shall discontinue the existing USSD-based call forwarding services with effect from April 15, 2024, till further notice. All existing subscribers who have activated USSD-based call forwarding service may be asked to reactivate call forwarding services through alternative methods to ensure that such services are not activated without their notice,” the order said. PTI

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