New Area Code in Place in Western Pennsylvania

New Area Code in Place in Western Pennsylvania

Customers Should Use New 724 Area Code Now

February 2, 1998

Media contacts:

Sharon Shaffer


Harry Mitchell


PITTSBURGH - Western Pennsylvanians now have a new area code. The 724
area code, which came on-line yesterday (Feb. 1), will serve the
region around the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Pittsburgh and
parts of its suburbs will keep the current 412 area code.

"Western Pennsylvania, like many other parts of the country, is
experiencing tremendous growth in the use of fax machines, pagers,
cellular phones and additional phone lines for home and business,"
said Pat Beadling, Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania vice president-public
relations. "In addition, increasing competition for local telephone
service has resulted in a shortage of available telephone numbers in
the 412 area code."

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. As in the past, callers in the 412 and 724
area codes will continue to dial seven digits to reach another number
in the same area code, and "1" plus the area code and seven-digit
phone number for calls outside their area code.

To help callers get used to the new 724 area code, there will be a
three-month transition period from Feb. 1 through April 29. During
this time, a caller in the current 412 area code may reach a number in
the new 724 area code - Greensburg, for example - either by dialing "1"
plus the new 724 area code and the seven-digit telephone number or by
dialing the seven-digit number. On or after April 30, callers
remaining in the 412 area code who try to reach a number in the new 724
area code by dialing the seven-digit number will hear a recorded
message instructing them to first dial "1" plus the new code.

Customer Education Campaign Begins

Bell Atlantic is sending letters to all its customers currently in the
412 area code to explain the reasons behind the change. The letters
include lists of existing 412 code telephone number prefixes (the
first three digits of a seven-digit number) that will be switched to
the new 724 area code. Customers can check the lists to find out if
they're in the new area code by looking for the first three digits of
their local phone number.

Bell Atlantic will include information on the new area code in
customers' phone bills and newspaper and radio advertising. In
addition, the company will distribute 724 area code information at
several upcoming community events in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.

Bell Atlantic has also established a toll-free area code hotline
(800-500-2167), which can be called Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.; another hotline (800-TOLL412 or 800-865-5412), which will
help callers determine in advance if the number they want to dial is a
toll call, and an Internet site (http://www.bellatlantic.com/areacode)
that provides a wealth of information about area code changes in
Pennsylvania and across Bell Atlantic's service area.

Between now and April 29, customers should prepare for the area code
change by taking the following steps:

  • 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.

  • Notify people who call you regularly. Tell friends, relatives,
    customers, employees, local affiliates, business associates, suppliers
    and others.

  • Make certain the new area codes appear in your company's ads and
    promotional materials. These include print ads, radio and TV spots,
    Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages advertising, classified ads, signs,
    Internet sites, recorded messages, cars and trucks, billboards, mugs,
    key chains or anything else that displays your new area code and
    telephone number.

  • Put the new area code on printed materials, such as stationery,
    business cards, invoices, purchase orders, brochures, catalogs,
    product packaging, internal records, checks, company directories and

  • Check with suppliers to make sure telecommunications equipment can
    accept the new 724 area code. Burglar alarm systems and PBX exchanges
    also may need to be reprogrammed.

These changes will help prevent problems April 30 when the transition
period ends and callers must use the new area code.

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


Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six 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 21 countries.