Local phone calls without codes will largely disappear in October – but for good reason

0

In many places, you can call a neighbor or local pizzeria by dialing seven numbers, as long as you have the same area code – but that option will soon be disappearing to make it easier to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. If you live in one of the areas where the change is happening, you should soon be calling 10 numbers, whether you are calling locally or not.

Each cellular provider has a support page explaining the change (we’ll link to all of them below, and a list of the area codes will be added at the end of the post), but the rationale is that, starting October 24, 2021, anyone who has a local number trying to call with only seven digits get a recording telling them to hang up and try again with the full area code. The change applies to landlines, cell phones and VoIP systems.

These are the provider support pages for:

It’s worth noting that seven-digit calling isn’t going away for everyone – there are only 37 states with affected area codes, and in some of those states it only concerns specific regionsHowever, the change will still affect many people – there are plenty of states, including Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, where the entire state will have to switch to 10-digit calling. People in much of Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, and other states will also be affected.

The change is happening because of an FCC order as of July 2020, which stipulated that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline should be reachable on a three-digit number, 988, to make it easier for people in crisis to reach the hotline. After the decision was made, the responsibility for actually getting the system up and running was transferred to it Administrator of North American numbering plan, which will now ensure that calls to 988 reach the Lifeline from July 16, 2022.

Keep in mind that calling 988 won’t connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline until July 16, 2022. If you or a loved one is in crisis, call 1-800-273-8255

The technical reason this change is required is fairly simple: some phone numbers start with 988, so if someone were to dial a number like 988-9999, the phone switch wouldn’t know how to interpret it. Since there is no area code 988, using all 10 digits ensures that phone numbers don’t start with 988 and confuse the system.

If you’re struggling to remember the last time you called without typing in the area code, you’re not alone – places like New York City and parts of the Bay Area have required 10-digit dialing for years. Of course, tapping on a specific number is less common in an age of more messaging, fewer calls, digital address books, and links to phone numbers on Google Maps.

Area codes that require 10-digit dialing

State Code (s) for affected areas
State Code (s) for affected areas
Alaska 907
Alabama 251
Arkansas 501
Arizona 480, 520, 928
California 209, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707, 925, 949, 951
Colorado 719, 970
Delaware 302
Florida 321 (Brevard County only), 352, 561, 941
Georgia 478, 912
Guam 671
Hawaii 808
Illinois 309, 618, 708
Indiana 219, 574
Iowa 319, 515
Kansas 620, 785
Kentucky 859
Louisiana 337, 504
Michigan 616, 810, 906, 989
Minnesota 218, 952
Mississippi 662
Missouri 314, 417, 660, 816
Montana 406
Nevada 775
New Hampshire 603
New Jersey 856, 908
New Mexico 505, 575
New York 516, 607, 716, 845, 914
North Carolina 910
North Dakota 701
Ohio 440,513
south Dakota 605
Tennessee 731, 865
Texas 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915, 940
Vermont 802
Virginia 276, 804
Washington 509
Wisconsin 262, 414, 608, 920

Data from NANPA and T-Mobile