A new area code will be coming to Hillsborough County, part of Pasco County and Oldsmar in Pinellas County.
The Florida Public Service Commission Tuesday approved an overlay implementation plan to add the new area code in the region that currently has an 813 area code. The new area code number was not announced. The new area code likely won’t start to be assigned for a couple of years, in the third quarter of 2022, when the current supply of available 813 area code numbers is expected to run out.
The new area code will cover the same geographic boundaries of the current 813 area code.
Existing telephone customers will keep their numbers, but new customers or customers adding additional lines will receive the new area code, the PSC said in a news release. That means everyone eventually will have to dial the area code plus the seven-digit phone number to make local calls.
The plan will be implemented over 13 months, including six months for network preparation, followed by a six-month permissive 10-digit dialing and customer education period. During the permissive dialing period, calls within the 813 area code can be completed using either 7-digits or 10-digits, to facilitate transition from 7-digit to 10-digit dialing by educating customers on the impending changes without impacting the calls. Following the six month permissive dialing period, mandatory 10-digit dialing will be required.
“As one of the most populous areas of Florida, Hillsborough County has thriving businesses and growing communities. Add all the new technologies that require telephone numbers to this, and it’s not surprising that a new area code is needed,” PSC Chairman Gary Clark said. “The approved overlay plan is customer-friendly. Current customers can keep their existing number, which is especially important to area businesses, and the six-month permissive dialing period will allow time for residents to adjust to 10-digit dialing.”
The PSC considered five alternatives to add a new area code, including one proposal that would have eliminated the boundary between the 813 and 727 area codes. Both area codes would have been assigned to the combined geographic area under that plan. The agency’s staff rejected that plan and others, and instead recommended the overlay implementation because it would minimize the number of customers that would be impacted by 10-digit dialing.
Closer look: 813 area code timeline