Practice Period For 10-Digit Calling Starts In NE Oklahoma

Saturday, August 7th 2010, 4:40 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

UNDATED --  Making a call in the Tulsa area will take a little extra effort. The practice period for dialing 10 digits, instead of just the seven digits we are used to, has started. 

It's all part of the 918 Area Code Overlay.

The 918 area code serves Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Bartlesville, McAlester, Gore, Jenks, Muskogee, Tahlequah, Henryetta and northeastern Oklahoma.

The 918 area code is going to run out of numbers within the next 18 months. So, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is adding a new area code called 539.

See the FAQ sheet on 10-digit calling.

"What we do is set up this permissive dialing period to get folks used to dialing 10 digits. You don't have to do it yet, but just get into the practice of doing it," said Andy Morgan, AT&T Oklahoma.

Between now and March 5th, you can dial seven digits, or the area code plus the seven digits to make your call. After that, you must include the area code on all local calls. 

In April of 2011, the state commission will start assigning the 539 area code to new phone service customers in the existing 918 region.

"It's kind of like people who live in big metropolitan areas like Dallas where they have several area codes and when you want to call across town or in that region, you dial 10 digits," said Morgan.

The FCC requires the 10-digit dialing when a region adds another area code. It's called an overlay.

"Your telephone number doesn't change, no matter where you are in the 918 area. A local call will continue to be a local call. A long distance call will continue to be a long distance call," said Morgan.

That means no new charges. But our convenient speed dial will need some tweaking.

"People who have dialing systems, either they have a home phone that's got programmed numbers or a business, they'll need to have that reprogrammed so it dials 10 digits," said Morgan. 

That's where the permissive dialing period helps out. Businesses can get their systems up and running with enough time to work out any kinks before March 5th rolls around.

There will be no change in calling 911, 411 or 211 services. You can make those calls the same way you've always made them.

8/6/2010  Related Story: 'Practice' For 10-Digit Local Calling Starts Saturday In NE Oklahoma