The Big 7-2-6 Area Code Transition Begins This Weekend

Pick up the phone..7-2-6 is calling.

After more than two decades of having  2-1-0 as Bexar County's exclusive area code, the phone calls, they are a-changing, starting tomorrow, News Radio 1200 WOAI reprots.

The six month long process of adding the area code 7-2-6 to San Antonio phones begins tomorrow, when Terry Hadley of the Pubic Utility Commission tells News Radio 1200 WOAI that you can start practicing with 'ten digit dialing' in preparation for the big day this fall.

"It's to get people used to the process, because, starting in late September, ten digit local dialing will be required," he said.

That's because of the way the new 7-2-6 area code will be added.  When 5-1-2 was split up in the 1980s and 8-3-0 was added in the 1990s,  both were b ased on geography.  If you lived in San Antonio, for example, you were 2-1-0.  If you lived in Boerne, you were 8-3-0.

Hadley says all new numbers issued starting this fall will be 7-2-6 area codes, which means you'll have to dial one plus the area code even if you're calling somebody who is standing right next to you, because the system will have to know whether the number you're dialing is a 2-1-0 or a 7-2-6.

"Beginning Saturday, callers who have a 2-1-0 area code will begin a six month permissive period of seven or ten digit local dialing," he said.

That ends in September, when you'll have to dial ten digits.

The culprit, as always, is explosive growth, in both people and numbers.  We have simply outgrown 2-1-0, just like when San Antonio and Austin had the same area code, the region outgrew 5-1-2.

He says it may be possible, if you're really attached to 2-1-0, to get a new phone with that area code if your provider has one left, but the standard practice will be to issue 7-2-6 phones.

Hadley says now that few people use  land line phones, ten digit local dialing should not be a problem.  Simply program your 'contacts' to dial 2-1-0 before local numbers and you won't have to think about it any more.

IMAGE; GETTY

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