Calling Changes

Like most people, you've probably become accustomed to seven-digit dialing for local calls. However, for Mississippi residents with a 601 area code, that will soon be a thing of the past.

Starting March 14, 2005, phone users will have to dial the area code and the phone number for not only long distance calls, but also for local calls.

"This is a necessary change," said C.D. Smith with BellSouth. "It's a sign of the times. With the growing use of numbers with fax machines, with cell telephones and many other uses with modems, then this is just a sign of the times."

That's not all. A new area code will soon be issued to some residents in central Mississippi.

"We still have some numbers in 601," said Smith. ”Once those numbers are all depleted, then new customers will be given the new area code and that new area code will be 769."

The good news is, industry officials say the changes will not cost
customers a cent.

In fact, they say once the new 769 numbers are in place, they will be considered local calls for customers with the old 601 area code.

Starting July 1, customers are asked to start getting in the habit of dialing 601 plus the seven-digit number even for local calls. After all, on March 14 it will no longer be an option.