New area code in Southern Nevada means 10-digit calls


The 411 is that 702 is about to get cozy with 725. And that means we're all going to have to dial three more digits when making local calls starting in 05 of 14.

Confused?

In conventional speak, new residents of Southern Nevada, from Indian Springs in the northwest to Mesquite in the northeast to Laughlin at the very bottom of the state, will be issued a 725 area code in an overlaying setup with the existing 702 area code, beginning in June 2014.

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on Thursday approved a second area code because available prefixes in the existing 702 area code will be exhausted in 2014, according to NeuStar, the organization that administers area code use for the Federal Communications Commission.

Because an overlaying area code will mean a new next-door neighbor will have a 725 area code while yours remains 702, local calls throughout the valley will require using an area code - for a 10-digit call. The only differences between that and a traditional long-distance call is that you won't be required to dial "1" first, nor - and this is more important - will you be charged extra for the call.

All local calls will require 10 digits on May 3, 2014.

Talk about letting your fingers do the walking.

Overlaying area codes are becoming more common across the United States, said Joe Cocke, senior area code relief planner for the North America Numbering Plan Administration, a division of Sterling, Va.-based NeuStar - which, by the way, has a 571 area code.

Other cities about to implement overlaying area codes are Boston and San Jose, Calif., Cocke said.

In the past, when a state or regional area code's prefixes were used up, the affected area was divided, with one half receiving a new area code while the other half retained the original.

In the case of overlaying an area code, residents aren't hurt as much as businesses, which locally will have to change their company letterhead to reflect 702 or the new 725.

Speaking of 725, why that number?

No particular reason, Cocke said, other than making sure the number selected wasn't too similar to nearby area codes - although 725 appears reasonably close to both 702 and Northern Nevada's 775.

And if you're wondering why the new area code isn't 777, that suggestion was made in 1998, when Nevada was divided and the northern half of the state was given 775. The triple-7 slot machine payout number couldn't be used because the number planning administration sets aside area codes with the same last two digits as "unique numbers for unique purposes," such as toll numbers.

Telecommunications providers will start network preparation and public education in February, the utilities commission said.

The program includes a nine-month transition period from Aug. 3, 2013, to May 3, 2014. During that time, customers can dial seven digits or start to dial 10 digits for all calls.

After 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory on May 3, 2014, callers who dial seven digits will receive a recorded message instructing them to dial 10 digits.

Contact reporter Joe Hawk at jhawk@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2912.

 

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