Bell Atlantic announces new area codes in New Jersey

973 in the Western part of 201; 732 in the Southeastern part of 908.

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NEWARK, N.J. - Bell Atlantic today announced the state's two new area codes: 973 in North Jersey and 732 in Central Jersey.

On Oct. 23, the Board of Public Utilities selected a plan that would carve two new area codes out of the existing 201 and 908 area codes, which are set to run out of telephone numbers next year.

The creation of the new area codes will not affect telephone rates. Calls that are local today will remain local after the two new area codes are instituted.

The new area codes are being created to generate more telephone numbers, which are being used up at an unprecedented pace by a huge demand for telecommunications services. Thousands of customers are now linked to the outside world through fax machines, pagers, cellular telephones and modems.

Moreover, New Jersey is opening its local telephone market to competition. Other telecommunications companies that plan to enter New Jersey's local market have been assigned nearly one million numbers to serve prospective customers.

Bell Atlantic did not favor the board's chosen method of area-code relief, in part because it would split 21 New Jersey municipalities. In addition, customers holding more than four million telephone numbers would be forced to change their area codes.

Bell Atlantic is, however, moving forward on the board's recommendation.

Callers who want to reach customers in western North Jersey and eastern Central Jersey may begin dialing the new area codes on May 1, 1997. During a six-month grace period scheduled to run until Nov. 1997, callers may use the old and the new area codes to reach customers in the 973 and 732 areas.

After November, callers will need to dial the two new area codes to reach customers in the 973 and 732 areas.

The new codes were assigned by Bellcore, administrator of the North American Numbering Plan.

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.

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