Transition Period Begins This Saturday to New '325' and '432'Area Codes for West Texans in '915' Region

EL PASO, Texas - To meet the growing need for phone numbers in West Texas, the number of area codes serving the region will triple this Saturday with the addition of the new 325 and 432 area codes in the existing 915 territory.

Business and residential customers have six months to get used to the new area codes. Between April 5 and Oct. 4, calls made to the new 325 or 432 area codes can be dialed using the existing 915 area code or the new area codes. Local calls placed within an area code will not require an area code. Beginning Oct. 5, however, 10-digit dialing must be used to place a call from one area code to another.

The 325 area code will serve Abilene, Brady, Brownwood, San Angelo, Snyder and surrounding communities. The 432 area code will serve Alpine and southward to Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Midland, Odessa, Pecos, Seminole and surrounding cities. Far West Texas, including Dell City, El Paso and Faben, will remain in the 915 area code.

West Texas residents and businesses are encouraged to begin dialing 10 digits starting this Saturday when they make calls from one area code to another. Beginning Oct. 4., if callers forget to use the appropriate area code in such cases, their calls will not go through, and they will hear a message to redial using the proper area code and number of digits.

Residents and businesses are also urged to reprogram as soon as possible their telecommunications equipment and services including computer modems using dial-up service for Internet access, fax machines, speed-dialing lists, call-forwarding services and any other equipment that automatically dials telephone numbers. Wireless phone users are encouraged to contact their carrier because it may be necessary to reprogram their handset with the appropriate area code. Security or alarm systems and business phone systems also must be programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.

Creation of the new area codes will not affect rates or local calling areas. Calls that are local today will continue to be local calls after the required 10-digit dialing plan goes into effect Oct. 5.

Dialing long-distance calls within the three area codes will not change. Callers will continue to dial "1," plus the area code, plus the seven-digit number to place a long-distance call. Dialing 911 to reach emergency services and 411 to reach directory assistance also will not change.

In 2002, the Texas Public Utility Commission decided to introduce two new area codes in the 915 region to meet the demand for new telephone numbers. Demand is growing rapidly as West Texans and phone customers nationwide increasingly have a choice of companies to provide local phone service, and these competing companies require phone numbers for their customers. NeuStar Inc., the national administrator for area codes, selected 325 and 432 as the new area codes for the eastern and central parts of the 915 area code region.

Know the Code, a consortium of more than 15 telephone service providers that serve West Texas, anticipate a smooth transition for residents and businesses. Know the Code members include Alenco Communications, Arch Paging Inc., AT&T, AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Comanche County Telephone, Grande Communications, Ionex Communications, Mid-Tex Cellular, Nextel Communications, NTS Communications, Digital Cellular of Texas, SBC, T-Mobile, Verizon, Verizon Wireless and Western Wireless (dba Cellular One).

The companies will jointly conduct a customer education program, including print and radio advertisements, to inform area residents and businesses of the changes and to urge them to reprogram their telecommunications equipment and services to use the new area codes as appropriate.

Customers can obtain more information about the new West Texas area codes by visiting http://www.texas-code.com or by contacting their local telephone company.


Media contacts:

Know the Code Media Hotline, 1-877-KNOWCODE (1-877-566-9263)

Alenco Communications: Kirk Petty, 817-447-0127

Arch Paging Inc.: Duane McRaine, 972-801-8234

AT&T: Kerry Hibbs, 972-778-2081

AT&T Wireless: Colleen Wiant, 503-306-7759

Cingular Wireless: Kristie Cohen, 713-553-2807

Comanche County Telephone: Cindy Beaty, 254-893-2003

Grande Communications: Brian Dolezal, 512-344-2035

Ionex Communications: Jim Altemus, 972-646-2350

Mid-Tex Cellular: Cindy Beaty, 254-893-8000

Nextel Communications: John Duty, 972-705-8385

NTS Communications: Larry Dennis, 800-658-2150

Digital Cellular of Texas: Amy Preston, 800-662-8805

SBC: Tiffany O'Brien Nels, 512-495-7164

T-Mobile: Kim Thompson, 425-378-4074

Verizon: Bill Kula, 972-718-6924

Verizon Wireless: Jenny Weaver, 480-763-6321

Western Wireless (dba Cellular One): Paul Borselli, 425-586-8003, or

Western Wireless (dba Cellular One): Julie Treat, 425-586-8401