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New dialing procedure to take effect in October for many Arizona residents


PHOENIX — Residents in three large area codes in Arizona will have to transition to 10-digit dialing later this year, the Arizona Corporation Commission announced.

Those in the area codes of 480, 520, and 928 will have to dial the area code plus the phone number for the call to go through starting Oct. 24, as calls that don’t include the area code may not go through, according to a press release.

The change is due to the FCC last year approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022.

All telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) are required under the order to make necessary network changes to ensure all who dial 988 reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The 520 area code covers southern Arizona, including Tucson, Nogales, Casa Grande and Tombstone; while the 928 area code covers northern and western Arizona including Yuma, Flagstaff, Payson, Prescott, Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Kingman.

The East Valley and parts of Pinal County are part of the 480 area code, including Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Apache Junction and Fountain Hills.

Arizona also has two other area codes – 602 and 623 – that are not listed as part of the change. These areas include Phoenix city proper except for Ahwatukee and some western parts of the city, as well as the West Valley cities of Glendale, Goodyear, Avondale, Tolleson, Buckeye, Sun City, Litchfield Park, Surprise and Peoria.

Those who are in the 480, 520 and 928 area codes are asked to begin the change on Saturday for what’s known as a “permissive dialing period,” meaning the call will still go through even if the area code is not included. That will not be the case on Oct. 24.

People in those area codes who forget to include the area code of the number they are dialing in October may be met with a recording saying the call cannot be completed as dialed.

Safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices and alarm and security systems, must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing.

Many systems already operate on 10-digit dialing by default, according to the release, but some older devices may use seven digits.

Phone numbers – including the area code – will not change under the order, along with the price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services. A local call will also remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.

Long-distance phone calls will still need a one before the area code followed by the number, while people will need to continue dialing a prefix when calling from a multi-line telephone system (such as those in a hotel or office building) as required.

Individuals can also still just dial 711 for relay services and 911 for emergency services.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect, according to the release.

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