10-digit dialing becomes mandatory in Lowcountry

VIDEO: Local calls will require 10-digit dialing starting Saturday

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Calling a number in the 843 area code now requires dialing 10 digits to complete the call.

The change comes as one of the final steps in a process to add a second area code to the area. The 854 area code is being added to the same area the 843 code covers because of a shortage of available 843 numbers, according to the state's Office of Regulatory Staff.

As of Saturday, callers within the 843 calling area will have to dial the area code and the number. Dialing only the seven-digit number will reach a recording instructing the caller to dial the area code and the number.

Beginning on Oct. 19, new telephone lines within the 843 area may be assigned numbers with the new 854 area code instead.

The 843 area code covers the coastal region of South Carolina, including Charleston, Hilton Head, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and Florence. The new 854 area code will serve the same area and will be used for new numbers.

What won't change:

  • Current numbers with the 843 area code. You will not have to change your telephone number because of the addition of the companion area code.
  • Local vs. long distance areas within the 843 area code. Telephone numbers with an 843 area code that were local calls before the change will remain local, and numbers that were long distance will remain long distance calls. The price of a call and other rates and services will not change because of the new area code, ORS Telecommunications Director Chris Rozycki.
  • Dialing three-digit numbers like 911, 211, 411 or other similar service lines won't require any additional digits.

However, home phones and office equipment like fax machines with stored 7-digit speed dial numbers will need to be reprogrammed to be 10-digit numbers.

The agency also recommends people check their websites, stationery, business advertising materials, personal and business checks, emergency contact information and pet ID tags to make sure the area code is included.

For more information, contact the Consumer Services Division of the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff at (800) 922-1531.

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