10-Digital Dialing is the new normal

New Dialing Process for callers from area codes

540 | 804 | 276

Starting in May of next year, callers from area codes 540, 804 and 276 will be required to include the area code on all outgoing calls, including local calls within the same area code.

We encourage you to start using this new process now to prepare for the upcoming transition. From now until May 14, 2022 this process is optional. On or after that date, calls made without the three digit area code will not complete and the caller will hear a recording with instructions to hang up and try again.

Important Notice About Automated Systems

Many automated calling systems rely on a locally stored number that will need to be updated before the May 14 change. Please remember to update the number stored in systems such as:

  • Automatic alarms
  • Medical monitoring equipment
  • Speed dial settings
  • Fax Machines
  • Fire and Security Alarms

You should also update the contacts in your phone and anywhere else that you digitally store phone numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this change being implemented?

There are two different items outside of our control which are making this change necessary. The reason varies by location but the process is the same.


FCC Changes to Suicide Hotline

For calls from area codes 804 and 276:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022. In order for 988 to work across our entire service area, some area codes will require, 10-digit local dialing.

This is to prevent calls to numbers beginning with 988 from inadvertently connecting with the Suicide Hotline.


540 Overlay

For calls from area code 540:

At the current rate that numbers are being created within the 540 area code, all numbers with a 540 area code will run out by early 2022. A new area code, 826, is being created to overlap the existing 540 area code and will be assigned to all new numbers for any phone provider.

Existing phone numbers will not need to change, but the area code will need to be included on all calls from that area code.


What will be the new dialing procedure?

If you have any phone numbers with one of the affected area codes, and use an automated system to dial numbers from a saved contact list, you will need to update any local numbers to include the area code. This includes systems such as automatic alarm system responses and medical monitoring equipment.

To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial the full 10 digits for all calls (3-digit area code + 7-digit telephone number.) This applies to all calls coming from within your area code.


Who will be affected?

Anyone with a telephone number from your area code will need to make this change from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing.


When will the change begin?

Immediately: You should begin dialing 10 digits to prepare for the change. If you forget & dial just 7 digits, your call will still be completed for a limited time.

On May 14, 2022, 10-digit dialing will become mandatory for all calls from numbers with one of the affected area codes. After this time, any calls made with less than 10 digits will not be completed. Instead, you’ll hear a recording about the issue and will have to hang up and try again.


What will you need to do?

Simply begin including the area code on all calls, and update the phone numbers in any locally stored systems or contact lists.


What will remain the same?

  • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.
  • Calls currently categorized as a local call will remain local regardless of the number of digits dialed. No long distance charges will apply for these calls.
  • You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all long distance calls
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
  • Any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services available in your community can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.


What if my number is not from one if the affected area codes?

If your phone number is not in affected area code, you may ignore these changes.


Who may you contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call Shentel at 1-800-SHENTEL. You can also visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.