6 facts you need to know about Birmingham’s new 659 area code

Bham Now Area Code
It will be mandatory to dial 10 digits to make calls in the Birmingham area once the new area code is implemented.

The Birmingham area will soon have a new area code along with the 205 identifier. AT&T announced this week that an additional area code, 659, will be implemented later this year. The change also means new local dial out procedures in the Fall. Find out what that means for you.

1. Your Current Area Code Will Not Change

Those in the west central Alabama area—Butler, Birmingham, Clanton, Hamilton, Jasper, Pell City and Tuscaloosa—will not need to change their 205 phone numbers. All current numbers will stay the same.

Map of overlay area codes
Introducing the 659/205. (Map courtesy AT&T)

2. The way you dial outgoing calls will change

In addition to the new area code, there will also be a new dial-out procedure for all outgoing calls in the area, local and long distance. When implemented later this year, you’ll have to dial the three digit area code and seven digit telephone number to make local calls. For the math wizzes out there, that means you’ll have to include all ten digits every time you dial out.

3. Local dial out changes will occur in two stages, kind of

AT&T says you should begin using the new dialing procedures whenever you place a call from the 205 area code beginning April 13, 2019. If you fail to do so, your call will still go through. Let’s call this part the practice round.

However, beginning October 12, 2019, you must use the new ten digit dialing procedure to make local calls, or your call will not complete. Instead, you will hear a recorded message instructing you to hang up and try again, including the area code.

Bham Now Area Code
Businesses that printed stationery and business cards with only 7 digits will want to update materials with a 10-digit phone number.

4. 659 area code numbers for new lines roll out in the fall

Starting November 12, 2019, any new line created will have the 659 area code. If you’re the sentimental type, there’s still time to get that 205 number on your new phone line.

5. You’ll need to change any programmed numbers in your phone

If you’ve got any saved numbers consisting of only seven digits programmed on your cell, you’ll need to go in and manually change them on your phone before the October 12th date. Otherwise, they’ll be useless.

6. Many things will stay the same

The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay. What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.

Also, numbers like 311 and 911 will not change. You will still dial just three digits to reach 911.

If you have questions, visit the Alabama Public Service Commission or the AT&T website for more information.

Christine Hull
Christine Hull
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