STARTING APRIL 25, 2020

Calling an 803 number? You’ll need ten digits.

Dial (803) + the seven-digit number.

Get ready to change the way you dial your local calls! To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 839 area code will be added to the area served by 803. This is known as an area code overlay. Plus, an additional 839 area code will start serving the west-central region starting May 26, 2020.

Who will be affected?

The current 803 area code generally covers the west-central portion of the state serving communities such as Aiken, Allendale, Chester, Columbia, Lancaster, Orangeburg and Sumter. The new 839 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 803 area code.

Why is the change necessary?

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 839 area code is being added to the region originally served by just the 803 area code. Since two area codes will now serve the same geographic region, an area code must be used when dialing any telephone number—including calls within the same area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number or 1 + area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 803 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number or 1 + area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 839 area code.

When will this change become mandatory?

Beginning April 25, 2020, you must use the new dialing procedure for all local calls. After this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your calls will not complete and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

Want to get in the habit? All callers can begin using the new dialing procedures before April 25, 2020.

Beginning May 26, 2020, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the new 839 area code. The new ten-digit dialing procedures for local calls will be enforced in the new 839 area code as well.

What will I need to do?

Along with changing your dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed with a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures as well. Some examples are life safety systems, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, etc. You may also want to check your business stationery or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included.

What will stay the same?

  • Your telephone number, including your current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • You will still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial just those three digits.

Who can I contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding the changes noted above, please access https://psc.sc.gov/  for more information.