The number of landline numbers in UK households has steadily declined since 2016. And it’s no surprise why.

Mobile phones allow you to take a call from anywhere in the world, so you never miss a call again. But is there a way to ensure you never miss a call to your landline again? The answer is yes, through forwarding those calls to your mobile phone.

It can seem daunting at first. Many people wrongly think that it requires a technical professional to set up and will be too much hassle to manage. This couldn’t be further from the truth, even for the non-tech-savvy.

This article will explore what call forwarding is, how to activate it with your existing phone line, and the digital options available to make it easier to manage.

You can forward calls from your landline to your mobile in two ways: using the built-in star service issued by your landline provider or adopting a virtual phone system.

The star service is usually free but would require you to maintain your physical phone line to your home. On the other hand, a virtual phone system does not since it uses cloud technology for the service.

Call forwarding is a service that allows you to forward incoming calls to your home phone number to another device. This can be an alternate number, like your cell phone, another landline number, or a cloud-based phone system.

This can be ideal for when you’re away from home, such as when travelling or at work, or if you simply want to direct all calls to one device. 

Call forwarding has been around for decades and is used by millions of people worldwide every day – so it isn't something new or complicated.

Once activated, all incoming calls to a landline phone number will be automatically routed to any device of your choosing.

Call forwarding works by connecting two separate calls. The first is the incoming call to your landline number, and the second is your landline provider calling the destination number. 

This can come with a cost since you are making an outgoing call – particularly if the destination number is not within the same network. However, each network company has their own policies regarding this, so it’s better to check with them directly. 

1. Divert calls to anywhere

The obvious benefit is that you don’t have to be at home to answer an incoming call. 

Whether you’re travelling the world on an adventure or just nipping to the shops quickly, call forwarding ensures that you never miss a call again. 

As long as you have an active WIFI connection, mobile data, or network signal, diverting calls from your landline number to your mobile phone will be possible.

2. Divert calls to specific people

Suppose you are attending a particular event and do not want to be disturbed, but you also don’t want to miss any calls that come in. Well, you can forward all calls to your friend or spouse’s mobile phone. 

You might be thinking, “why would I want to forward my home phone number to someone else but me?”. 

Who knows, you may find yourself in an emergency, or your mobile phone may be getting repaired. Regardless of why, it’s nice to know that forwarding calls aren’t restricted to just you; you can forward calls to any person and device.

3. Forward calls straight to voicemail

Some days you just don’t want to be bothered with phone calls. Whether that’s because you’re busy, you have company over, or you want some peace and quiet, you have the option to forward calls straight to voicemail.

This ensures that you never have to hear your phone line ring. If it’s urgent, it’s likely that the person will call you on your mobile number or leave a message. 

So, once you’re ready, all you have to do is open the phone line again and read any important – or not-so-important – messages.

4. Easy to set up

Diverting calls from one number to another across multiple devices can seem like a technical nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.

Setting up a call forwarding service can be incredibly straightforward – more on that in a second – and the good thing is that it only needs to be done once.

Once you’ve set it up, sit back and enjoy the benefits of never worrying about missing a call again.

5. Privacy

Let’s face it; not many people actually use their landline numbers anymore for making calls. Mobile phones and free calling services such as WhatsApp have made landlines almost obsolete. 

These days, landlines are typically only used to receive calls. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to privacy.

We’ve all experienced it before where you want to sign up for a service on the internet, or you want to make a purchase in-store, and they ask for your contact details. 

Sure, you can give out your real mobile phone number, but these can end up in an online directory which telemarketers can use to try to spam you. Or even worse, your number can fall into the hands of a scammer – which is the last thing you want.

This is where having a landline can be handy. Simply provide them with the landline number and get the best of both worlds. 

You’ll still benefit from receiving calls to your mobile phone, but without feeling like you’re jeopardising your privacy. 

And when it finally comes time to get rid of your home phone number entirely, you will have peace of mind knowing that it doesn’t matter how many malicious people have that number; they’ll never be able to contact you with it.

Of course, you could do it the old-fashioned way and have someone sit by the phone at all times to divert landline calls to you manually, but that’s clearly not practical and defeats the purpose if someone has to be present in your home at all times. So let’s dive into what actual possibilities you have available to you.

Star service

Most landline providers have a built-in call forwarding service – called Call Diversion – which you can activate using the star service. It is incredibly easy to set up and requires you to complete one step:

  • Dial *21*, then the number you wish to divert calls to, followed by a #

For example, suppose you wanted to forward all calls to your mobile number. In that case, you would dial: *21*07XXXXXXXXX#

And there you have it; you have successfully set up a forwarding service through your landline provider for all incoming calls.

You can also check which numbers you’re diverting to and cancel call forwarding completely.

ServiceHow to divert callsHow to check which numbers you’re diverting toHow to cancel a call divert
Divert all calls*21*07XXXXXXXXX#*#21##21#
Divert calls you are unable to answer within 15 seconds*61*07XXXXXXXXX#*#61##61#
Divert calls when your landline is busy*67*07XXXXXXXXX#*#67##67#

The benefit of using the star service is that it’s simple to set up, maintain, and cancel. This makes it ideal if you only want to divert calls to your personal mobile number.

However, if you want more flexibility regarding how many numbers you can forward a call to and under which circumstances – for instance, call forwarding only when receiving an incoming call from a specific number – you’ll have to adopt a different phone system entirely.  

Virtual phone system

A virtual phone system is a phone service that runs on cloud technology instead of a physical phone line hooked up to your home. 

Depending on the virtual landline provider, all that’s required is access to the internet (whether that be through your phone or a laptop) or an active phone network on your phone.

Since your phone number is connected to a cloud service, you only need to download their provided app on your mobile device or computer and log in. And that’s it. You’ll now be able to receive calls, make outgoing calls, access your call history, set up your voicemail, and more. 

There are obvious benefits to a virtual landline:

  • A phone line to your home is not necessary
  • All incoming calls will come through the app on your device
  • You can make outgoing calls using your virtual landline
  • Calls can be taken and made from anywhere in the world (provided you have an active internet or mobile network)
  • You often have the option to set up a call answering service
  • Cheaper than line rental for a physical landline
  • Some services allow you to send text messages 
  • You can add multiple devices to your virtual landline
  • Set rules to forward certain numbers to specific devices
  • They often come with 24/7 customer service

Is a virtual phone system the same as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)?

A virtual phone system is the virtual number, app, and service that you use to make and receive calls. Whereas VoIP is the technology through which calls are made and transferred over the internet. Therefore, virtual phone systems that require an active internet connection to work use VoIP technology, whereas those that use your mobile network connection to work do not. 

Most call forwarding services are tailored towards businesses since they typically need a virtual phone system the most. But they can also be used for personal use. Some of the most popular call-forwarding services include:

  • Google Voice
  • Dial9
  • Ringover

Google Voice

If you’re already in the Google ecosystem, then this will be a no-brainer. 

Google Voice provides you with a virtual phone number to call, text, and receive voicemails.

You can also read voicemail transcripts in your inbox, make international calls, and be protected from known spam numbers. And the best thing yet, it’s free.

But we know that some people aren’t a fan of Google and how they collect your data. Luckily, there are other options out there.


Dial9 has two main services: business phone and call forwarding.

As its name suggests, the Dial9 business phone system is suited for businesses since it has and has advanced features such as detailed call analytics, call queues, music on hold, and a menu system to direct callers to specific people. All of this can be purchased for just £4.99 per month.

Alternatively, for £5 per month, you can purchase its specialised call forwarding service, where you can choose a landline number with any geographical area (or a non-geographical number). Simply enter the number you wish to have calls forwarded to, and voila, you are ready to receive calls. If additional services are required, you also have the option to include voicemail, call recording, and call logging. 

The cost of Dial9’s service is where it separates itself from its competition. So if you’re looking for a low-cost Google alternative, Dial9 is a reliable choice. 


If you’re slightly underwhelmed by Dial9’s features, Ringover won’t disappoint.

Ringover is directed towards businesses and, thus, has things such as HD video calls and meetings, call recording, unlimited calls to 110 destinations globally, and the ability to host a landline number in 14 countries. However, these do come at an extra cost. 

Starting at £16 per user per month, it is one of the pricier options on this list, with plans reaching as much as £59 per user per month. But if additional features are something you need, then Ringover will be a fantastic choice. 

Call forwarding can be set up using your existing phone line or by adopting a virtual phone system. Both are incredibly easy to do, and there are a variety of options to choose from, such as using the built-in star service on your landline or signing up with a virtual landline provider.