Ten-digit local dialing is coming to the 843 area code in S.C.
TDS Telecom informs South Carolina residents and businesses in the 843 area code to prepare for area code overlay
Beginning March 14, 2015, South Carolina residents and businesses in the 843 area code can start dialing ten digits — area code + telephone number — when making local calls. Beginning September 19, 2015, everyone in the 843 area code will be required to dial ten digits (area code + telephone number).
TDS Telecom is alerting residents and businesses in the Coastal Counties region about the upcoming changes. The South Carolina Public Service Commission approved the addition of a new area code—854. Known as an “Area Code Overlay,” this change affects residents served by the 843 area code in communities such as Awendaw, Bonneau, McClellanville, Pineville, and St Stephen. The change ensures availability of an ongoing supply of telephone numbers in South Carolina.
When two area codes serve the same region, rules of the Federal Communications Commission require 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 in the 843 area code 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:
March 14, 2015: “permissive” ten-digit dialing period begins; callers should begin using the new 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.
September 19, 2015: “mandatory” ten-digit local dialing begins. Customers in the 843 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.
October 19, 2015: Phone numbers with the new 854 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 PBX systems, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, multi-line key systems, life safety 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 September 19, 2015.
Residents and businesses should also check with security or alarm companies to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.
For more information, visit www.regulatorystaff.sc.gov or contact TDS at 888-CALL-TDS (888-225-5837).
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