Starting this weekend, you could be dialing a new area code when calling someone in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Customers getting new phone numbers in Philadelphia and parts of Berks, Bucks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties will soon be assigned the area code 445.
That's because the pool of numbers in 215 and 267 area codes are running low. Once the traditional area codes run out, 445 numbers will be issued on new devices, Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen said.
Hagen-Frederiksen said customers with existing 215 or 267 area codes, which were put into service in 1947 and 1999 respectively, won't be impacted by the addition, which was initially announced in 2016.
People with 445 area code numbers will need to use 10-digit dialing outside of typical three-digit public service numbers like 911 and 411, the PUC, the state agency that oversees telecom services, said.
The 445 area code will be included in local calling for anyone in the existing 215/267 zone.
"It is important for consumers across the Philadelphia region to understand that the activation of this new area code will not change the way they dial calls or result in any changes to their service," PUC Chairman Gladys Brown said. "For nearly 20 years, callers in the 215/267 area have been using 10-digit dialing – so the biggest adjustment for many will be recognizing that calls to-and-from the ‘445’ area code are still local calls."
Here are three tips the PUC offers as 445 takes effect:
- Check your devices to verify that area codes are included with all stored numbers.
- Continue to program/save/store phone numbers to all devices using the full 10-digit telephone number.
- Verify that all services and equipment – such as automatic dialers, life-safety & medical alert systems, alarm/security systems and security gates, call forwarding settings and voice mail services – recognize the new area code as a valid phone number.
Back in January, some Verizon customers received text messages announcing the new area code, including a link to a map listing a Feb. 3 launch date. The new area code rollout was always set for March 3 at the earliest, according to the PUC.