Bell Atlantic-New Jersey kicks off campaign to inform customers about area codes

North and Central Jersey customers to learn whether their numbers are in the new area codes.

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NEWARK, N.J. - Bell Atlantic today launched a one-year campaign to prepare New Jersey residents and businesses for the addition of two new area codes, 973 and 732.

The campaign will be conducted in print, over the airwaves and in cyberspace, as the company launches a series of advertisements, bill inserts and a home page on the World Wide Web to help customers in North and Central New Jersey make the transition from two area codes to four.

Starting in June 1997, the 201 area code will be split geographically and 973 will be added. The 908 area code also will be split, and 732 will become a new area code in Central Jersey.

"Even with the advent of local competition, customers still rely on one company, Bell Atlantic, to provide them with accurate information about major telecommunications developments in New Jersey," said Len J. Lauer, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-New Jersey. "And we'll be there for our customers. This campaign will address their questions and make the transition to the new area codes as smooth as possible."

Ads displaying lists of telephone exchanges included in the two new area codes will appear tomorrow in newspapers across the state. Customers may use these lists as guides for determining how area-code changes will affect them.

Questions about 973 and 732 also may be addressed to Bell Atlantic's new toll-free area-code hotline, 1-800-409-8773. Information also will be posted on our area-code web site,

"We want customers to understand that the creation of the new area codes will not affect telephone rates," said Lauer. "Calls that are local today will remain local after the two new area codes are added. This is an important message in our campaign."

The 973 and 732 area codes are being created to generate the telephone numbers necessary to help satisfy an unprecedented demand for telecommunications services. Thousands of customers who once lived in one-phone homes, now reach the outside world using 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.

Callers who want to reach customers in western North Jersey and eastern Central Jersey may begin dialing the new area codes on June 1, 1997. During a six-month grace period scheduled to run until Dec. 6, 1997, callers may use either the old or the new area code to reach customers in the 973 and 732 areas.

As of Dec. 6, 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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