What is an area code overlay?
An overlay is the addition of another area code to the same geographic area as an existing area code. You won’t have to change your existing area code or phone number, but it does require you to dial the area code and the 7-digit number for all calls. In South Carolina, the 854 area code is being added to the area served by the 843 area code.
Who will be affected?
Anyone who has a phone number with an 843 area code is affected, as well as anyone who receives a phone number from the 854 area code in the future. The 843 area code generally covers the eastern and coastal counties in the state of South Carolina serving communities such as:
- Hilton Head Island
- Myrtle Beach
The 854 area code will cover the same geographic area as the 843 area code.
What will be the new dialing procedure for customers with an 843 or 854 area code?
The new 854 area code is being added to the geographic area served by the 843 area code. Because more than one area code will serve the same geographic area, if you have an 843 or 854 phone number, you will need to dial or enter the area code for all calls including calls within the same area code. To complete local calls from a phone with an 843 or 854 area code, the new dialing procedure requires you to dial the area code + 7-digit phone number.
When will the South Carolina 843/854 area code dialing change begin?
Beginning March 14, 2015, if you have an 843 area code, you should start dialing the area code for all calls. There will be a grace period, so if you forget and dial just 7 digits during the grace period, your call will still be completed.
Beginning September 19, 2015, if you have an 843 area code, the new dialing procedure (all 10 digits) will be required for all calls. On or after this date, if you don’t use the new dialing procedure, your call won’t be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.
Beginning October 19, 2015, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the 854 area code. If you have an 854 area code, you must dial the area code + 7-digit phone number on all calls or the call won’t be completed.
Why is the South Carolina 843/854 area code overlay necessary?
The 854 area code is being added to the area served by the 843 area code to ensure a continuing supply of phone numbers. Because more than one area code will now serve the same geographic region, the area code + phone number must be used when dialing any phone number, including calls within the same area code.
Will the South Carolina 843/854 area code overlay affect my service?
No. The only change is dialing the area code for all calls. Your current area code and 7-digit phone number will not change. The price of a call, your plan and coverage area, and other rates and services won’t change because of the overlay. All local calls will remain local, even though the area code will be required to place a local call.
What will I need to do to prepare for the South Carolina 843/854 area overlay?
In addition to dialing the area code + phone number for all calls, you should also complete the following items:
- Update any pre-programmed 7-digit phone numbers in your mobile device to include the area code, as well as any text or email alert services.
- Re-program all services and devices that utilize a 7-digit phone number to include the area code, including automatic dialing equipment. Other examples include:
- Life safety systems and medical monitoring devices
- Fire or burglar alarm and security systems
- Security gates
- Speed dialers
- Call forwarding settings
- Fax machines
- Internet dial-up numbers
- Voicemail services and similar functions
- Check your websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks,
contact information and ID tags to ensure the area
code is included.