People with phone numbers in the 302 area code should be ready to punch in more numbers when they call another 302 number – or when one of their devices needs to interact.
The official start for 10-digit dialing is Saturday, April 24, but Ooma, a voice over internet protocol, and AT&T’s wireless network already accept 10 digits.
The change – affecting residents of 15 other states and territories – is needed to start 988 as a new national suicide hotline number. The National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline remains at 800-273-TALK until it moves to 988 on July 16, 2022.
Seven-digit calls between 302 numbers will work for only the next six months.
Starting Oct. 24, 10-digit dialing will become required. “On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed, notes a T-mobile FAQ.
Verizon posts the same FAQ – with the April 24 date – and notes that the change affects not just voice calls but a raft of other equipment.
“In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to seven-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit (or 1+10-digit) numbers, including the area code,” it writes. “Some examples are: life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm systems, other security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and other similar functions. Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.”
Ooma quoted the FAQ in an email sent Thursday to customers: “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 dialing change.”
The change affects 84 area codes, including 856 in South Jersey, but no area codes in Maryland or Pennsylvania.