A New Area Code in Alabama:
What you need to know.

Alabama Area Code OverlayAlabama is such a popular place that we are running out of phone numbers in the 205 area code footprint.  When this happens, an additional area code “overlay” is added to the footprint and in this case, the ‘205’ area code will be joined by ‘659’.

10 Digit Dialing?

Ten-digit dialing becomes mandatory after October 12, 2019. The only real change for you is that you’ll need to dial 10 digits rather than 7.  If your next door neighbor’s number is 555-1234, once the change takes effect, you’ll need to dial 205-555-1234 or 1-205-555-1234.  After October 12, if you dial only 7 digits your call will not go through. In November, when new phone subscribers are assigned the new area code, they will be assigned 659 area codes.

In addition to changing your dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed with a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed. Some examples are life safety systems, business phones, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, etc. You may also want to check your business stationery or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included.

You will still be able to call 911 with only three digits, and if 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still only need to dial three digits as well.

 

10 Digit DialingThe good news is that you’re not really ‘dialing’, but pressing 3 extra buttons. In the old days having to actually dial would have been a whole lot more inconvenient!

 

Area Code Overlay Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (659) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (205). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

2. Who will be affected?

The 205 area code generally covers the west central portion of the state serving communities such as Butler, Birmingham, Clanton, Hamilton, Jasper, Pell City and Tuscaloosa.  The new 659 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 205 area code.

3. What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in the 205 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 659 area code.

4. When will the change begin?

Effective April 13, 2019, you should begin using the new dialing procedures whenever you place a call from the 205 area code. If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still complete.

Beginning October 12, 2019, you must use the new dialing procedures, as described above. On and after this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your calls will not complete.  A recorded message will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.

Beginning November 12, 2019, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 659 area code.

5. What do I need to do?

In addition to changing your dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures. Some examples are life safety systems, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, etc. You may also want to check your business stationery or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included.

6. What will remain the same?
  • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial these codes with just three digits.
7. Who can I contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call OTELCO at 1-833-OTELCO-1 or access the following websites for more information: https://www.otelco.com/alabama area code   or http://www.psc.state.al.us.