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10-digit dialing now required



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Starting March 1, if you live in the 801 area code, you will have to let your fingers do a little more walking, as they say. Instead of dialing just seven digits of a phone number, you will also have to dial the area code.

March 1, is the day that 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory. It's been an option since last summer, when the phone companies started warning us to get into the habit and to update our automated dialing systems to include the area code, even for local calls.

It doesn't matter if you are calling long distance or the phone right next to you, you'll have to start by punching in the area code.

The truth is, we were supposed to start using 10-digit dialing last summer. That's when the phone companies started warning us to get into the habit and also to update our automated dialing systems to include the area code, even for local calls. They've also been advising us to give out our entire phone number, including the area code.

If you don't dial all 10 numbers, plan on hearing something like this. "Welcome to Verizon wireless, your call cannot be completed as dialed, please hang up and redial the number, including the area code..."

Dialing 10 digits is simply the result of the phone companies running out of numbers in the 801 area code, which serves Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Morgan and Utah Counties. With the growing population here, and the fact just about all of us have a home number, a cell phone number, pager number or fax number, or all of the above, the new 385 area code is being added to handle increasing demand.

It's not an instantaneous flipping of a switch, so if you have got away without dialing the area code Sunday, chances are it won't work Monday.

The big carriers like Qwest expect that the switchover will be complete by Monday night, and 10 digit dialing will become a new way of life.

And if you get a new phone number, don't be surprised if it starts with 385.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod

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