Verizon Wireless Offers Consumer Tips for Area Code Split in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to Ease Transition

IRVINE, CA — Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless provider with 40 million customers, today announced tips for consumers and businesses that are affected by the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) decision to split the 909 area code into two area codes on July 17, 2004. To help ensure that their service isn't interrupted, wireless users need to know if their phone number, based on its prefix, has been slated by the CPUC to be changed to the new area code, 951, and whether or not their new phone number can be programmed on their phone using over-the-air technology. The 909 Area Code will be split generally along the San Bernardino/Riverside County line resulting in a northern section, which keeps the 909 Area Code, and a southern section, which has been assigned the new area code, 951.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A list of the affected prefixes is attached. A map of the geographical split can be downloaded from the CPUC website at:

"We've been notifying customers about the split with bill messages, regular mail and even text messages," said Marni Walden, Verizon Wireless regional president. "Our customers with phones that have over-the-air technology have received a mailer from us, letting them know on what date they must reprogram their phone with the new area code by dialing *228-SEND and selecting 'option one'," Walden noted. Walden provided the following helpful tips:

  • Be informed. Dialing to services such as 411, 611 and 911 will remain the same.
  • Check your mailbox. Verizon Wireless customers transitioning to the new 951 area code by mandate of the CPUC will be receiving a letter from the company outlining how to reprogram their phone.

    • Some customers receiving the letter will be instructed to dial *228, hit the SEND button and then select "option one" after the voice prompt to reprogram their phone over-the-air. This will be a free call and must be made between the date noted on the letter and October 30, 2004 to avoid service interruption. Customers attempting to reprogram their phones with the new area code before the date listed in their letter will be unsuccessful.
    • Other Verizon Wireless customers will be notified by letter that they must visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store between July 17, 2004 and October 30, 2004 to have their older-model phone reprogrammed in order to avoid service interruption.

  • Spread the word. Persons receiving a new area code should notify friends, family and associates of the change.
  • Update shortcuts. Speed dialing and call forwarding on phones should be changed after the area code split.
  • Open the phonebook. Updating one's wireless phone book after the area code split can save time down the line.
  • Test your coverage year-round. With Local Number Portability you can take your number to another carrier at any time. Consumers can test Verizon Wireless, operator of the largest and most reliable national network, for free for 15 days -- if you're not satisfied simply return your equipment and your only obligation is to pay for the calls you made.

In 2003, Verizon Wireless invested $600 million to further expand, enhance and safeguard its wireless voice and data network in California and has similarly invested nearly $300 million in the first half of 2004. Each year, Verizon Wireless invests, on average, about a billion dollars every 90 days in its national network, constantly improving and expanding what already is the largest, most reliable nationwide wireless network in the United States.

The company's 'most reliable network' claim is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and test women who inspired the company's national advertising campaign. They conduct more than 300,000 call attempts monthly on Verizon Wireless' and other national wireless carriers' networks, while traveling over 100,000 miles of the most frequently traveled roadways nationwide in specially equipped, company-owned quality test vehicles.

Verizon Wireless' network reliability is also supported by industry-leading redundancy and maintenance measures, which have proven particularly valuable during natural disasters and other emergencies such as the southern California wildfires in 2003. Standard Verizon Wireless network reliability features include battery back-up power at all facilities as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. The company also operates a fleet of mobile generators and temporary cell sites, or cells-on-wheels, ready for deployment.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto