Beginning Saturday Feb. 8, callers that have a 937 area code will be required to include it in all calls or the calls won’t be completed, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
In a news release, the agency said that if a caller failed to follow the new procedure in their call, a recording will instruct them to hang up and dial it again, and include the area code.
The PUCO said a “326 overlay” was added last year to the area served by the current 937 area code to ensure a continuing supply of phone numbers.
The 937 area code came into existence in September 1996 from 513, which was one of the original area code that was established in 1947, with the split caused by the increasing number of cell phones and digital pagers.
Callers won’t have to change their existing phone number, but the agency did say that because more than one area code now serves the same geographic area, which includes Highland County, it will require callers to enter the area code plus the seven-digit number for all calls, including those made within the same area code.
Communications carriers notified their customers in August 2019 of the coming change, encouraging them to get into the habit of entering the area code for all calls.
Since then, a grace period has been in place, allowing calls to be completed even if customers forgot or refused to enter the area code when placing a call.
Starting March 8, 2020, the PUCO said that new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the new 326 area code, and that all calls placed must include the new code.
Carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile recommend that customers should also complete the following items:
• Update any preprogrammed seven-digit phone numbers in your mobile device to include the area code, as well as any text or email alert services, and any call forwarding services.
• Reprogram all services and devices that are currently programmed to use a seven-digit phone number to include the area code, including automatic dialing equipment, such as life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, fire or burglar alarm and security systems, security gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, PBX and fax machines, internet dial-up numbers and voicemail services.
• Check websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the new area code is included.
The 937/326 area code serves the west central portion of Ohio, extending north to the southern part of Hardin County, as far east as Marysville in Union County, on the western border with Indiana including Greenville and Eaton in Darke and Preble counties, and southward to the Ohio River to include Georgetown and West Union in Brown and Adams counties.
It also reaches into parts of Warren and Ross counties.
For questions about the 937/326 area code overlay, contact your phone carrier, or visit the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio website at www.puco.ohio.gov.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.