A new area code could soon be coming to central South Carolina.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) says it expects to run out of phone numbers for the 803 area code by the end of 2020. The group is seeking approval from the state Public Service Commission to begin using a new area code for the region, which stretches from Rock Hill and the communities south of Charlotte down across the Midlands and Lower Savannah areas.
“Basically, new residents at some point will get numbers assigned to them with the new area code,” Office of Regulatory Staff telecommunications director Chris Rozycki said. “New companies will get the new area code assigned to them.”
The last major area code change in South Carolina occurred three years ago, when NANPA overlapped 854 for new phones along the 843 zone in the Lowcountry and Pee Dee. NANPA is a private company supported by the telecommunications industry which handles the routing of calls across area codes.
The Public Service Commission will consider two options: either create an entirely new area code for new phones entering the 803 region, or combine the 803 and 843 regions to use 854 for all new numbers in central and eastern South Carolina. Rozycki said communications providers prefer the first option, while NANPA wants the latter.
“The first would simply institute a brand-new area code for the 803 area,” he said.
Rozycki said any new phone lines in the region after 2020 would likely use a new area code. Any customer with a current 803 phone number will be able to keep that number. However, everyone in the region will have to dial all ten digits for local calls.