Customers Must Dial New 724 Area Code on April 30

Customers Must Dial New 724 Area Code on April 30

Recorded Messages Await Callers Who Dial Wrong Area Code

April 29, 1998

Media contact:

Sharon Shaffer,

Harry Mitchell,

PITTSBURGH - It's T-Minus One on the countdown to the new 724 area code in western Pennsylvania. Starting April 30, callers must use the 724 area code to reach phone numbers in the new code's geographic area. Callers will hear a recorded announcement when they dial the wrong area code.

The 724 area code will serve the region surrounding the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Pittsburgh and most of its suburbs will keep the current 412 area code.

"For three months we encouraged customers to prepare for this change; now the rehearsal is over," said Sandy Scott, Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania manager-customer education for the new area code implementation. "Tomorrow, people must begin using the new 724 area code for calls to go through successfully.

"We appreciate customers' understanding and cooperation throughout this process."

The area code change will not affect the price of phone service, and a customer's local calling area will remain the same, even if it includes both area codes. A local call is still a local call, and a regional toll call is still a regional toll call.

Callers in the 412 and 724 area codes will continue to dial seven digits to reach numbers in the same area code, and "1" plus the area code and seven-digit phone number for calls to other area codes. From April 30 through mid-July, callers who forget to use the new area code will hear a recorded reminder telling them to first dial "1" plus the new code.

The following tips will help callers complete their calls on the first try:

Check your emergency telephone number. If you live in a community without a 911 emergency system, make sure you know the correct telephone number to call for emergency services such as ambulance, fire and police. If you live near the boundary of the 412 and 724 area codes, you may have to dial "1" plus an area code as well as the seven-digit number for emergency services. Customers in these communities can determine which emergency phone numbers to call by referring to helpful information that was included in their Bell Atlantic phone bill.

If you are one of these customers, write the complete phone number - including area code if needed - for all emergency services on the special card included with the bill insert. Also write the numbers in your telephone directory and any other convenient location for quick and easy reference. In addition, program these emergency numbers in any speed dialing list you use.

Use the proper area code. If your area code is changing, notify friends, family, businesses, clients and customers. If you aren't sure if your telephone number is in the new area code or you have other questions about the code, call Bell Atlantic's toll-free hotline (800-500-2167) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another hotline (800-TOLL412 or 800-865-5412) is helping callers determine if the number they want to dial is a toll call. An Internet site http://www.bellatlantic.com/areacode also provides a wealth of information about area code changes in Pennsylvania and across Bell Atlantic's service area.

To complete calls, dial seven or 11 digits. For local or regional toll calls within your own area code, dial seven digits. For all other calls, dial 11 digits ("1" plus area code and seven-digit number).

Reprogram telecommunications services and equipment to include the new area code. This includes computer modems, Call Forwarding (including Ultra Forward® and Select Forward), Call Block, Priority Call, Bell Atlantic® Easy Voice, Call Gate, Special Delivery® service on Home Voice Mail Service, pager notification on features such as Home Voice Mail Service, and speed dialing lists - particularly those on office phones, cellular phones and fax machines.

Check with suppliers to make sure your telecommunications equipment can accept the new 724 area code. Burglar alarm systems and PBX exchanges also may need to be reprogrammed to handle area codes with a middle digit other than "0" or "1."

To prepare for the change, Bell Atlantic will reprogram or modify the following services to reflect the new 724 area code: Centrex and Centrex Extend services, Foreign Exchange Service, Remote Call Forwarding, Call Restriction, directory listings and numbers blocked at the customer's request.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: For a list of telephone number exchanges - the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number - that will be switched to the 724 area code, see Bell Atlantic's area code Web site at http://www.bellatlantic.com/areacode/Pages/pa.htm.)

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and 6.7 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 22 countries.