Area Code Change This Sunday

Senator Ross Romeroby Senator Ross Romero
Senate Minority Whip

I wanted to make sure you know that the scheduled 10-digit dialing required to implement the new 385 area code overlay solution will take effect Sunday, March 1, 2009.

Popular Cell PhonesI would recommend taking some time this weekend to re-enter the area codes in your cell phones so that when you find the name of the person you are calling, you will have their area code already programmed in.  There is a bill in the House (HB 215) which would change the implementation of the area code from a historical use to a geographic area.  I would be interested in hearing your response to this bill in this blog post.  Click below to post your comments.

Below are facts about the area code change prepared by the Public Service Commission.  If you have additional questions, please contact the Public Service Commission at or 801-530-6716.

 The new 385 Area Code overlaying the existing 801 Area Code

Background: On July 11, 2007, the Utah Public Service Commission issued an order approving the deployment of a new Area Code for use in the area presently served by the 801 Area Code. The new Area Code, 385, will provide additional telephone numbers that are necessary to support the growth in the number of Utah residents, telecommunication service providers, available telecommunications products, and additional lines. The new 385 Area Code will cover the same geographic area as the existing 801 Area Code. In general, the introduction of the 385 Area Code will primarily affect residents in the following counties: Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Weber, and Utah.

The following questions and answers will help clarify the impact of deploying the new 385 Area Code:

What change will happen on Sunday, March 1, 2009?
Callers within the 801 Area Code must dial the full 10 digit telephone number in order to complete local calls.  The 10 digit telephone number includes the 3 digit Area Code along with the 7 digit telephone number.  The PSC ordered the new 385 area code to be added to the geographic area currently served by the 801 Area Code. This change only affects the way callers dial local calls.  As a result, all current customers will retain their existing numbers and Area Code.

How will telephone dialing change?
The way callers dial a local call will change; callers will be required to dial 10 digits for all local calls. Specifically:
•    For a local call within the same or different Area Code, customers must dial 10 digits (Area Code + 7 digit telephone number).
•    For a toll call to all area codes, there is no change, customers must dial 1+10-digits          (1 + Area Code + 7-digit telephone number).
•    For Operator Services Credit Card, Collect, or a Third Party call to all area codes, there is no change; customers must dial 0+10-digits (0 + Area Code + 7-digit telephone number).

What happens if a caller by mistake dials a “1” before the 10 digits for a local call?  Will they be charged for a toll call since they dialed the “1”? 
No, callers should not incur toll charges for local calls.  Depending upon the service provider of the caller, they will either get an intercept message indicating they do not need to dial a “1” to complete the call, or if the call is allowed to complete, the caller should not be charged for a toll call.  Callers should contact their local service provider if they have any questions.

What will not change as a result of the new area code?
•    Customers with existing 801 Area Code telephone numbers will have no change to their Area Code or telephone number.
•    Local calling areas will remain the same; the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change.  In other words, if it is presently a local call, it will still be a local call without any toll charges.
•    Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 411. If available, customers can still dial 211, 311, 511, 611, 711 and 811 with just three digits.

What should I do to ensure that my home telephone service continues to operate smoothly? 
You may want to do some of the following things to make sure your calls will complete as dialed:
•    If necessary, reprogram equipment such as automatic-dialers, fax machines, and computer modems before mandatory dialing begins.
•    Be sure everyone in your household is aware that 10-digit dialing for all local calls will be required.

What should I do to ensure that my business telephone service continues to operate smoothly?
•    All businesses in Utah should verify that their telephone equipment is capable of completing calls to the new 385 Area Code. Some telephone equipment used by businesses will not recognize the new Area Code until their equipment has been reprogrammed or upgraded.
•    Businesses may need to reprogram or upgrade their equipment if they use specialized communications equipment such as a PBX, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, or multi-line key systems.

What other communication services might be affected?
•    Calling features such as Speed Dialing and Call Forwarding may need to be updated to use the full 801 or 385 Area Code 10-digit telephone number for local calls.
•    In addition to any changes in your dialing procedures, services that operate with automatic dialing equipment may require changes or reprogramming. Some examples are life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, security gates, speed-dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail, and other similar services.
•    Cell phone users should make certain that telephone numbers programmed within their cell phone directories include the 10-digit number (which includes the 801 and 385 Area Codes).

Who is responsible for any costs that might be incurred?
Because the Area Code change is the result of normal growth in the state of Utah, any costs incurred for updating customer-owned systems and revising printed materials will be the responsibility of the individual telephone customer. Given the long lead time of the 385 Area Code deployment, the impact should be minimal.

Why did the PSC select to Overlay the 801 Area Code with the new 385 Area Code which requires customers to dial the 10 digit telephone number for local calls?
The PSC determined the Overlay approach provided the better long term solution and minimized customer confusion, impact and expense. Existing customers retain their phone numbers and will avoid the cost and inconvenience of reprogramming mobile devices, informing contacts of a number change and updating data banks. Business customers will avoid the cost of re-printing stationary, directories, signs and advertisements – costs that would likely be passed on to customers.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions?
For additional questions, customers should contact their local service provider or visit the Utah PSC Website at: –

2 thoughts on “Area Code Change This Sunday

  1. I would just like to comment that I hate this new setup. There is no way of knowing if the 801 is long distance, or not, so I have to guess, and then generally dial the number again. It is a complete waste of time. Please do something to fix the problem before too many people die of frustration.

  2. Thanks to this new rule, my teenager was confused by what equated to a long distance call. Now I have a bill I wouldn’t have had if they had just geographically changed the area codes rather than overlay them. This was a bad approach.

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