Ten-digit local dialing coming to Alabama

TDS Telecom customers in the 205 area code will be impacted; need to prepare for area code overlay.

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Beginning April 13, 2019, residents and businesses in the west-central part of Alabama, with a 205 area code, should start dialing ten digits — area code + telephone number — when making local calls.

According to TDS Telecom (TDS®), the areas they serve around Butler, Lisman, Needham, Pennington, Flatwood, Lynn, Nauvoo and Oakman will be impacted. However, all areas currently served by the 205 area code will be impacted.


Known as an “Area Code Overlay,” the addition of the new area code — 659 — was approved by the Alabama Public Service Commission (APSC). The overlay ensures an ongoing supply of telephone numbers throughout the area. Beginning on October 12, 2019, everyone with a 205 area code will be required to dial ten digits (area code + telephone number).

An Area Code Overlay is when two area codes serve the same region. In these instances, the Federal Communications Commission requires callers to change the way they dial local calls. While customers do not have to change their existing area code or phone number, they will be required to ten-digit dial all local calls (area code and seven-digit telephone number).

What residents and businesses need to know about the area code overlay:

  • Existing phone numbers with 256, 938, 334, and 251 area codes will not change.
  • The price for calls, local and long-distance calling areas, and other rates and services provided by TDS will not change due to the new Area Code Overlay. What’s a local call now remains a local call, regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • The dialing procedure for long distance or operator assisted calls will not change.
  • 911 remains a three-digit dial. If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 and 811 are available currently, they will remain a three-digit dial.

Dates to keep in mind:

  • April 13, 2019: “Permissive” ten-digit dialing period begins; callers should begin using the new 10-digit dialing procedure. If callers forget to use the area code, and dial only the seven-digit number, calls will still be completed during this permissive phase.
  • October 12, 2019: “Mandatory” ten-digit local dialing begins. Customers in the 205 area code must use ten-digit dialing for all local calls, otherwise, calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct callers to hang up and dial again.
  • November 12, 2019: Phone numbers with the new 659 area code may begin to be assigned.

In addition to changing dialing procedures, customers are encouraged to begin reprogramming automatic dialing equipment and other devices programmed with seven digits. This includes life-alert safety systems, PBX systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services. All such devices will need to be reprogrammed with ten-digits (area code + telephone number) by October 12, 2019.

Residents and businesses should also check with security or alarm companies to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.

Media Contact: Sydney Kelly | Intern – Communications | TDS | 608-664-0902| sydney.kelly@tdstelecom.com

TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS Telecom/TDS®) delivers high-speed internet, TV entertainment, and phone services to nearly 900 rural, suburban, and metropolitan communities across the U.S. With more than 1.2 million connections, TDS is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the United States. Powered by fiber-optics and new industry-leading technologies, TDS delivers up to 1 Gigabit internet speeds and offers internet-protocol based TV entertainment solutions along with traditional phone services. TDS also offers businesses VoIP advanced communications solutions, dedicated internet service, data networking, and hosted-managed services. Visit tdstelecom.com.

TDS Telecom, headquartered in Madison, Wis., employs nearly 2,700 people and is a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS], a Fortune 1000® company. Founded in 1969, TDS Inc. employs 9,400 people and has approximately six million connections nationwide through its businesses U.S. Cellular, TDS Telecom, OneNeck IT Solutions LLC, and TDS Broadband Service. TDS Inc. has been named to several Forbes lists, including America's Best Employers for Diversity, Best Large Employers, and Best Employers for Women. Visit tdsinc.com.

Updated February 2019

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