Albany Region to Get New Area Code

Upstate New York in the Albany area is getting a new area code this fall to accommodate growing cell phone usage.

All customers within the existing 518 area code should begin preparing for the introduction of the new 838 area code and 10-digit dialing.

The 518 area code covers Eastern NY south of Albany all the way north to the Canadian border.

Beginning on March 18, 2017, customers can place a call within the 518 area code region by dialing the customary 7 digits or by dialing 10 digits (area code + 7 digits). Beginning August 19, 2017, all calls made within and between area codes 518 and 838 must be placed using the 10-digit telephone number (518 or 838 plus the 7-digit telephone number). Phone numbers with the new 838 code will begin activating as soon as September 19, 2017.

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the New York Public Service Commission approved an area code overlay for the area served by 518. The new 838 area code will be overlaid over the same geographical area as the existing 518 area code.

The most important facts that consumers need to know about the upcoming 838 area code overlay are:

  • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • You will need to dial area code + telephone number for all calls within and between 518 and 838 area codes starting August 19, 2017.
  • You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all calls to other area codes (outside of 518 and 838).
  • What is now a local call will remain a local call.
  • The overlay will not change the price of a call, coverage area, or any rates or services.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial these numbers with just three digits.

Customers should identify their telephone number as a 10-digit number (area code + 7-digit telephone number), and include the area code when giving the number to their friends, family, business associates and business customers, etc.

Customers should ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial just 7-digits within the 518 area code are re-programmed to dial the area code + 7-digit telephone number. Some examples are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Customers should also ensure that such services and equipment recognize the new 838 area code as a valid area code.

Customers should also be sure to check their business and personal stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in their telephone number. Remember that effective August 19, 2017, all calls made within and between area codes 518 and 838 must be programmed using 10-digits, and a “1” must be added for all calls to other area codes outside of 518 and 838.