10-digit dialing to be required in some Arizona area codes

Starting Sunday, phone users in much of Arizona must include area codes when dialing to make all calls, including local calls that previously only required seven digits.

As in many other states, the change applies in those area codes where some phone numbers have 988 prefixes. That matters because the Federal Communications Commission last year chose 988 for use as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting next July.

In Arizona, the new requirement applies to local calls in the 480, 520 and 928 area codes but not in the 602 and 623 area codes.

The 480 code covers Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler and Tempe in eastern areas of metro Phoenix, which also has the 602 and 623 area codes.

The 520 area code includes metro Tucson and much of southern Arizona, including Casa Grande, Nogales, Bisbee, Sierra Vista and Douglas.

The 928 area encompasses much of largely rural western, northern and eastern Arizona, including Yuma, Flagstaff, Prescott, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Payson, Show Low, Tuba City and Winslow.

The requirement in the three affected area codes takes hold six months after state utility regulators advised that callers in those areas could and should begin using the new system.

With implementation, "local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed," the Arizona Corporation Commission said in an April statement announcing the change.

The statement said safety and security equipment, such as medical devices and security systems, must also be re-programmed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems use 10-digit dialing by default.

Things that won’t change because of the requirement include customers’ telephone numbers or area codes, the prices or rates of phone calls and the need for some long-distances callers to dial "1" before the area code and the phone number, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator said Tuesday.

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