I received a text from Verizon, my cell phone provider today that kind of confused me because I just got a new phone and I figured it had something to do with that but turns out, it had everything to do with the AREA CODE my phone number is listed in.

Melz

I've been in East Texas for close to a year now but I still have my mobile number listed to the 254 area code in Killeen, Texas. Apparently, I wasn't the only person to get this text as millions of Texans in various area codes will now have to make changes in how they dial out for calls.

WHAT'S GOING ON?

According to The Public Utility Commission Of Texas, On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Order requires all telecommunications providers to make any network changes necessary to ensure 988 access by July 16, 2022. Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

OKAY, SO WHAT DOES MEAN FOR ME?

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Well, several Texas area codes have numbers with a 988 prefix which means those areas must transition from seven-digit to 10-digit local dialing. Starting on Monday, October 25 Texans with phone numbers in these 7 Texas area codes must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls.

For now, you can still make local calls the old way, but on the 25th if you try to make a call with only seven digits, you will reach a recording prompting you to hang up and dial again using both the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.

GOTCHA, SO WHAT AREA CODES ARE AFFECTED?

Public Utility Commission Of Texas

Here's the list of affected area codes and the major city its connected to:

  • 254 - Waco/Killeen
  • 361 - Corpus Christi/Victoria
  • 409 - Galveston/Beaumont
  • 806 - Amarillo/Lubbock
  • 830 - Uvalde
  • 915 - El Paso
  • 940 - Wichita Falls

ANY OTHER CHANGES I NEED TO MAKE?

Yup! If you own important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems, you are reminded to reprogram them for 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use seven-digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment not completed before October 24, 2021 could lead to service interruption.

For more details and to see a list of other devices that may need to reprogrammed click on the button below:

 

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