The demand for phone numbers is prompting the change.
SHARON, Pa. -- People in Mercer, Lawrence and nine other western Pennsylvania counties will have to dial 10 numbers to complete all telephone calls beginning July 12.
The 412 and 724 area code calling areas are getting a third area code overlay -- 878-- on that date, said state Rep. Richard Stevenson of Grove City, R-8th.
"This means a caller with a 724 area code dialing another person with a 724 number across the street must now dial 10 digits to complete a call," Stevenson said. That's the area code, plus the seven-digit phone number.
The growing demand for more telephone lines as well as the need for numbers for cell phones, fax machines and pagers has made it necessary to add another area code to the area, he said.
Few changes: Those with 724 and 412 area codes won't see them change if they keep their current service. However, adding an additional line or getting a fax or pager or even just moving across the street could result in assignment of the new 878 area code, Stevenson said.
It is an overlay system, he said, meaning that 878 will simply be added to the 412 and 724 areas.
Failure to dial the full 10 digits will get the caller a recorded message saying the call can't be completed, he warned.
Local calling areas and current phone rates won't change. What has been a local call will remain a local call, even if the caller must dial an 878 area code, Stevenson said.
A similar system is already in effect across the state line in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Callers in the 330 area must dial 10 digits to make all calls.
That change, which took place last year, also was necessitated by the introduction of a new overlapping area code.