On October 9, Tom Davis from Kensington received a letter from AT&T. It read: “Boundary Area Code Elimination Overlay Approved for the 619 and 858 Area Codes,” followed by an explanation and new procedures for dialing within our local area codes.
“It’s an inconvenience, but it’s just a side effect on our reliance of technology,” Davis said. He was referring to how we dial numbers that are stored on our cell phones or land lines. Soon, it will be necessary to dial the “1” followed by the 619 or 858 area code, then the seven-digit phone number, to connect, no matter if you’re in the same area code dialing out.
On May 1, the California Public Utilities Commission released a press release that stated: “The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has taken action to ensure that phone numbers continue to be available to meet demand in the 619 area code by allowing both the 619 and 858 area codes to be used in the same geographic region. The 619 area code is expected to use up its available prefixes by March 2019.
"The 619/858 area code overlay approved by the CPUC last week eliminates the boundaries between the 619 and 858 area codes in the San Diego region, making either area code available to serve the current 619 and 858 geographic region. In a traditional area code overlay, a new area code is added to the existing geographic area served by the area code in which numbers are depleting. In this case, instead of adding a new area code to the 619 area code region, the CPUC eliminated the boundaries in which the two area codes can be allocated so that the 619 and 858 numbers will be available for the whole region."
“I already did this with my family’s [stored] phone numbers,” Davis said. When he travels outside of our area codes to do work as a requirements analyst for the Navy, he clicks one button on his smartphone and it dials the 1-plus-10 digit set of numbers.
The utilities commission also states that, starting November 11, when dialing locally, residents have the option of dialing with the old (7 digits) or new (11 digits) procedure, but come May 19, 2018, the new sequence will be required in order for the user to connect.
“I remember when people got mad because they wanted to hold their old 714 area code,” Davis said, “but we survived that.”
In November of 1982, the 619 area code was created from a split of the original 714 area code; in 1997, the 619 area code was split to form the 760 area code; then, in 1999, the 619 area code was split again to create the 858 area code.
For the latest change, the utilities commission states that “the 858 area code still has a projected life of beyond thirty years and all customers with existing 619 and 858 numbers will retain their current telephone numbers."