South Carolina 803 / 839 Area Code Overlay FAQs

General Information

  1. What is the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay?

    An overlay is the addition of another area code to the same geographic area as an existing area code. In South Carolina, the 839 area code is being added to the area served by the 803 area code to ensure a continuing supply of phone numbers.

    You won't have to change your existing area code or phone number. However, because more than one area code will now serve the same geographic area, it does require you to dial or enter the area code and the 7-digit number for all calls, including calls within the same area code.

  2. Who's affected by the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay?

    Anyone who has a phone number with an 803 area code is affected, as well as anyone who receives a phone number from the 839 area code in the future. The 803 area code serves the central portion of South Carolina, serving communities such as Aiken, Allendale, Camden, Chester, Columbia, Sumter and Winnsboro.

    The 839 area code will cover the same geographic area as the 803 area code. The map below shows the 803 / 839 overlay area.

  3. What's the new calling procedure for customers with an 803 or 839 area code?

    The new 839 area code is being added to the geographic area served by the 803 area code. Because more than one area code will serve the same geographic area, if you have an 803 or 839 phone number, you'll need to enter the area code for all calls -- including calls within the same area code. To complete local calls from a phone with an 803 or 839 area code, the new calling procedure requires you to enter the area code and 7-digit phone number.

  4. When will the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay calling change begin?

    Beginning October 26, 2019, if you have an 803 area code, you should start entering the area code for all calls. There will be a grace period, so if you forget and enter just 7 digits during the grace period, your call will still be completed.

    Beginning April 25, 2020, if you have an 803 area code, the new calling procedure will be required for all calls. On or after this date, if you don't use the new calling procedure, your call won't be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.

    Beginning May 26, 2020, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the 839 area code. If you have an 839 area code, you must enter the area code and 7-digit phone number on all calls or the call won't be completed.

  5. Will the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay affect my service?

    No, the only change is entering the area code for all calls. Your current area code and phone number won't change. The price of a call, your plan and coverage area, and other rates and services won't change because of the overlay. All local calls will remain local, regardless of the number of digits entered.

  6. What will I need to do to prepare for the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay?

    In addition to entering the area code and phone number for all calls, you should also complete the following items:

    • Update any pre-programmed 7-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.

    • Re-program all services and devices that are currently programmed to use a 7-digit phone number to include the area code, including automatic dialing equipment. Some examples include:

      • Life safety systems and medical monitoring devices
      • Fire or burglar alarm and security systems
      • Security gates
      • Speed dialers
      • Calll forwarding settings
      • PBXs and fax machines
      • Internet dial-up numbers
      • Voice mail services and similar functions

    • Check your 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 area code is included.
  7. What will remain the same after the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay is implemented?

    The following items will remain the same and won't change:

    • Your phone number, including current area code

    • The price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services

    • Calls that are considered local now will remain local calls, regardless of the number of digits dialed

    • 911 calls are not affected, only 3 digits are required

    • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you'll still be able to call them by dialing just 3 digits
  8. Where can I find more information about the South Carolina 803 / 839 area code overlay?

    If you have any questions about the 803 / 839 area code overlay, please contact us. Visit the Public Service Commission of South Carolina site to learn more.

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