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Area code changes to soon take effect

Some new numbers to get 442 area code

STORY CLARIFICATION: California Public Utilities Commission Spokesman Andrew Kotch said that a “1” does not need to be dialed before the area code when the mandatory dialing takes effect Oct. 24. Kotch clarified that a “1” is not needed when dialing from a cell phone, but must be dialed when using land line telephones.


In less than one month, Barstow-area residents, along with all phone service customers in the 760 area code, will be required to dial the area code to other local numbers.

Starting Oct. 24, all phone calls will require callers to dial the full 10 digits. After that date if callers forget, the call will not go through and instead an automated message will remind callers to first dial the area code, said Andrew Kotch, spokesman for the California Public Utilities Commission.

In addition to the 10-digit dialing policy, customers who get new phone numbers after Oct. 24 — either land-line or cell phone numbers — may get assigned a 442 area code.

Phone service carriers, such as AT&T or Verizon, each get an allotment of phone numbers with 760 area codes, Kotch said, and are nearing their maximum allotments. Kotch said he’s unsure when exactly the 442 area codes will start being issued.

“It depends on when the carriers run out of their numbers,” he said.

There will be no long distance charges for phone calls between 760 area codes and 442 area codes, Kotch said. Also, callers do not need to dial a “1” before the area code.

The California Public Utilities Commission decided on the change in October  2008. Because phone numbers were running out, the CPUC had to decide between either geographically splitting the 760 area code region — which spans from San Diego to Barstow and up to Bishop — essentially in half and assigning one half the new “442” prefix and allowing the other to keep “760.”

The other choice, which the CPUC ultimately settled on, was to only give new phone numbers the 442 area code. The new 442 area code will take effect Nov. 21.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or


What you need to know
• Starting Oct. 24, all local calls will require dialing the 760 area code.
• You do not need to dial “1” before the area code.
• Calls will not be charged as long distance.
• The new 442 area code will take effect Nov. 21.
Source: California Public Utilities Commission

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