The 531 is Coming to Town

June 4th, 2010

Like many other metro areas, Nebraska needs additional area codes to keep up with the exploding number of requests for new phone numbers for cellular phones, pagers, fax machines and additional lines for computers.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission has approved an Area Code Overlay for a 531 area code to share the same geographic region as the existing 402 area code. The change will affect landline and cell phone users.  Basically, people will find they need to dial 10-digits to make a local call.  Local and long-distance calling rates won’t be impacted.  This will apply to new numbers only and existing telephone numbers will not change.

The strong demand for telephone numbers is a positive sign of action and activity in eastern Nebraska.  People should adjust easily to 10-didgit dialing and a new area code.  But don’t tell that to Carrie and Elaine.  On Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was distraught after receiving a new cell phone with the area code 347. “Oh no,” she says. “I’m a 917 girl. Always have been.”

And on the hit TV show Seinfeld, Elaine loath to forfeit her “cool” New York City area code of 212. Sure enough, a potential beau rejected her when he learned her area code was the then-new 646.  Elaine was devastated.

So when will the change begin?

Beginning June 26, 2010, all customers with a 402 area code should begin dialing the area code for ALL calls (there will be a grace period).

Beginning February 26, 2011, all customers with a 402 area code MUST use the new dialing procedure for ALL calls.  On or after this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedure, your call will not be completed.

Beginning March 26, 2011, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the 531 area code.  All customers with a 531 area code must dial the area code + seven-digit number on all calls or the call will not be completed.

What will you need to do to prepare for the overlay?

  • Update any preprogrammed seven-digit numbers in your cell phone to include the area code, as well as any text or email alert messages
  • Reprogram all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a seven-digit number to include the area code.  Some examples are life safety systems, fire or burglar alarm & security systems, security gates, speed dials, call forwarding, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, etc…
  • Check your website and marketing materials. Business stationery, advertising materials, contact information, etc..
    • Collateral Materials & Brochures
    • Exterior & Interior Signage
    • Directory Listings
    • Print ads
    • Television ads
    • Radio ads
    • Online ads
    • Outdoor ads