The Philadelphia suburbs can expect to see a new phone area code several months earlier than anticipated, as the Public Utility Commission recently revealed that phone number options for the region are running out fast.
The new area code — 835 — will serve the same region as 610 and 484 once all of the phone number options are exhausted, which can happen as early as Sept. 2. Customers can keep their current 610 or 484 phone numbers, but are urged to be aware of the new area code.
The calling area serves residents and businesses in portions of Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Carbon, Lebanon, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties. As the area already has two overlay area codes, there will be no changes in dialing, as previous area code updates have resulted in.
This is because the region currently uses 10-digit dialing, which was originally implemented in 1999 when the 484 area code was first introduced. Rather, a letter from the North American Numbering Plan Administer outlines the rules governing the use new area code.
To prepare for the upcoming change to the numbering system, residents can check their devices to ensure that area codes are stored within all of them. Residents should also be aware of friends, family, and loved ones calling from new phone numbers with the new area code.
Residents are encouraged to remember to save all new numbers with the full, 10-digit telephone number. People can also check to ensure that all services and equipment — including medical alert bracelets, automatic dialers, alarm systems, security gates, and call-forwarding settings — recognize the new 835 area code.
The new area code should keep up with demand for the next 60 years, according to NANPA.
In the past, changes to a region’s area code have had more significant impacts to residents. When the 215 area code was split to make room for the 610 area code in 1994, some Philadelphia residents and businesses had to change their phone numbers, which led to some pushback.
Pennsylvania hasn’t split an existing area code since 1998, when the 717 area code in the northeastern part of the state was reduced to make room for the 570 area code.
Philadelphia will continue to use its iconic 215, 267, and — as of four years ago — 445. The city’s service area also includes parts of the suburbs, including Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, and Lehigh counties.