New Dialing Procedure to Debut in 815 Area Code

Residential and business customers with area code 815 phone numbers should be prepared for the introduction of the 779 area code.

Beginning Aug. 19, 2006, customers could begin dialing 1 + area code + seven-digit number when making their calls.

The new dialing procedure will be mandatory beginning Feb. 17, 2007, for everyone with phone 815 or 779 area codes.

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved adding the 779 area code to the 815 region to ensure that businesses and consumers have access to numbers from their carrier of choice.

An area code overlay is the addition of another area code (e.g., 779) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (e.g., 815)

The most important facts that consumers and businesses need to know about the area code overlay are:

All customers who have an 815 area code phone number today will keep the 815 area code.

Phone numbers with the new 779 area code may be issued after March 17, 2007.

Beginning Aug. 19, 2006, all customers in the 815 area code should develop new dialing habits when calling from the 815 area code phone number.

Everyone should dial “1” before the area code and seven-digit number when making calls.

Between Aug. 19, 2006, and Feb. 16, 2007, calls will be completed regardless of whether the old or new dialing procedure is used.

Beginning Feb. 17, 2007, customers must use the new dialing procedure for all calls. After this date, if they do not use the new dialing procedure the call will not be completed, and a recording will instruct callers to hang up and dial again.

Adding the area code when dialing calls, and the ultimate addition of the new 779 area code, does not add charges to calling a number; calls that are in a consumer’s toll-free calling area continue to remain toll-free.

Customers can still dial three digits to reach 911, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, and 711.

In addition to changing the dialing procedure, customers are encouraged to begin reprogramming their automatic dialing equipment and all other types of equipment that are currently programmed with only seven digits on an 815 area code phone number.

All such devices will need to be reprogrammed with the new dialing procedure prior to February 17, 2007.

Examples of programmed equipment and features include: life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forward settings, voice mail services and similar functions.

Over the past 10 years, telecommunications carriers successfully implemented 50 area code overlays throughout the U.S. to make telephone numbers available to meet growing demand. The last overlay implemented in Illinois was in 2002.

For more information, please visit

Customers can also call the AT&T hotline at (800) 378-2222.