The Missouri Public Service Commission, in collaboration with the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) and the telecommunications industry, is working on the implementation of an overlay plan and the forthcoming introduction of a new 975 area code in the 816 area code region of Missouri. All current customers within the existing 816 area code will retain their current area code in the overlay area, and their telephone numbers will remain unchanged.
The expansive 816 area code serves numerous communities, including but not limited to, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Savannah, Excelsior Springs, Maysville, Odessa, Adrian, Holden, Lawson, and Drexel.
The groundwork for an overlay plan for the 816 (and 314) area code was initially laid out in an order issued by the Missouri Public Service Commission on October 24, 2000. However, on September 25, 2001, the Commission opted to indefinitely delay the implementation of area code overlay relief plans. This decision aimed to allow time for telephone number conservation measures.
“Telephone number conservation efforts were successful, and we were able to delay the area code overlay implementation plan for the 816 area code for more than 21 years,” explained Public Service Commission Chairman Scott Rupp. He continued, “The depletion of available telephone numbers eventually necessitated the introduction of an overlay plan and the launch of the new area codes.”
According to NANPA’s projections, telephone numbering resources within the 816 area code are approaching exhaustion, with an estimated depletion date in the second quarter of 2024.
October 13, 2023, marks the earliest activation date for the 975 area code. The earliest date for telephone companies to request numbers with the 975 area code was August 8, 2023. It’s important to note that these dates are subject to potential adjustments depending on the actual exhaustion of telephone numbers within the 816 area code.
The introduction of the 975 area code will bring about some changes for local calls within the region. All local calls in this area must be dialed using ten digits, rather than the previous seven digits. This adjustment aligns with a broader nationwide shift, as many area codes across the country were required to eliminate seven-digit local dialing in July of 2022 to accommodate the new 988 abbreviated dialing code for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
Here are key points that telephone customers should be aware of regarding the 975 area code overlay:
- Telephone numbers, including the current area code, will not change.
- The pricing of calls, coverage areas, rates, and services will remain unaffected by the overlay.
- What is currently classified as a local call will remain so.
- Customers within the overlay region must now dial 10 digits for local calls.
- Three-digit abbreviated dialing for services such as 911, 211, 311, 988, 511, 611, 711, or 811 (where available) will continue to function smoothly and will not be impacted.
To facilitate the transition, customers are urged to identify their telephone number as a 10-digit entity (comprising the 3-digit area code followed by the 7-digit telephone number) and include the area code when providing their number to others.
On October 27, 2021, mandatory 10-digit dialing became the norm. This meant that all local calls required the dialing of 10 digits (area code + telephone number). Consequently, local calls dialed with only 7 digits ceased to be completed, with a recorded message directing callers to use the area code and the 7-digit number to complete their calls.
Customers are advised to ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment recognize the new 975 area code as a valid area code. Additionally, they should continue to store or program telephone numbers as 10-digit entities. Examples of such equipment include stored telephone numbers in contact lists in wireless or cordless phones, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, medical alert devices, safety alarm security systems, and gates. Customers should also verify the inclusion of the area code on their websites, personal and business stationery, printed checks, advertising materials, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags.
For further information and assistance, please reach out to your local telephone service provider or visit the Missouri Public Service Commission website at https://psc.mo.gov/Telecommunications/Telephone_NumbersLocal_Dialing.