Some cell phone customers will soon be dialing more numbers. It's because of a change at U.S. Cellular, which will soon require callers to dial the area code, even when calling within the 918 area. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports it's called "10 digit dialing" and it's a response to the explosion of people using mobile phones to communicate.
Cell phones are everywhere and every one of them requires a phone number. With so many new phones in the 918 area code, U.S. Cellular has decided that to avoid confusion with seven digit phone numbers, it needs to start requiring customers to dial ten digits that include the area code.
"A lot of our customers are already doing that, text messaging is one of the big things carriers are offering and you already have to do that with ten digit dialing text messaging and we're just moving along doing it with voice as well," said U.S. Cellular area manager Joe Cabrera.
U.S. Cellular's Tulsa calling area is huge, extending north and east to Chicago, and every customer in that area will have to start dialing area codes on May 15th. The company says it won't affect the cost of calls or how long distance charges are figured, just the number of numbers needed to make a call.
"We do want them to start dialing the area code, as well. So, it is three additional numbers, but we want to start talking to our customers now. So when they dial Sue down the street at 555-8000, we want them to start dialing the area code as well, 918," said U.S. Cellular area manager Joe Cabrera.
U.S. Cellular already requires ten digit dialing in Oklahoma City and for customers who use phones for text messaging.
The News On 6 couldn't find any other cellular provider that is making the change right now.
AT & T is one of the state's largest cell and land line companies and they say there isn't a shortage of numbers. And, they have no plans to require their customers to dial the numbers.
The change requires the area code for all calls, from all U.S. Cellular phones, as of May 15th.