New area code for South Carolina Revealed

South Carolina 4th area code has been revealed and it will be 854,but no one will be getting one of the new phone numbers until sometime in 2015.

The new 854 will be the first "overlay" area code in South Carolina, so some confusion is expected. It will become the second area code to be used for areas that are currently being served by the the 843 area code, so the 854 area code numbers will be assigned as the available 843 numbers run out.

So, at some point in the future your next-door neighbors might have different area codes, than you, and everyone with an 843 or 854 area code will have to dial 10 digits to make a phone call.

The date for when mandatory 10-digit dialing will begin has not been set, but based on the current projections and regulatory approvals, it would likely be during the first half of 2015.

Nanette Edwards, chief counsel for the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, says the that office  learned of new area code number Monday from the administrators of the North American Numbering Plan.

According to Thomas Foley, senior manager, data analysis, for Neustar the new area code was was actually set aside at least a decade ago but was not revealed not even to state regulators - until now,

Hope over to The Post and Courier or WPDE for more infomation

So, at some point in the future your next-door neighbors might have different area codes, than you, and everyone with an 843 or 854 area code will have to dial 10 digits to make a phone call.

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The current trend within area

The current trend within area code locales in countries serviced by the North American Numbering Plan (including the USA, Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and most of the English-speaking Caribbean) which are running out of numbers is to implement an overlay area code rather than split the existing area code in two. While a split would have allowed for continued 7-digit dialing both locally and within the rest of area code 843, it also would have meant that half of the existing telephone numbers would have had to change to area code 854, and businesses/individuals in the new 854 would have had to order new stationary, update their contacts, etc. just like was done in the mid 1990s when area code 803 split into 803 and 843. When splitting area codes was still common, a cousin of mine in New Jersey went through it twice, and is now on their third area code for the same old 7-digit number.

The overlay allows every person/business with a phone number in area code 843 to keep their entire 10-digit number intact. This is the primary reason for implementing an overlay rather than a split.

Even if in the next 15 years we end up running out of numbers in area code 854 and the Lowcountry needs a third area code, those with 843 and/or 854 numbers won't have to get an area code change for their existing number.

North American Numbering Plan policy is that a local calling area serviced by more than one area code requies 10-digit dialing for all local calls (no need to dial a '1' first). This is to ensure fairness among all telephone carriers and local customers so that one area code does not have a technical advantage over another. Overlays are now common in large metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Houston, and residents of those areas now think of their telephone numbers as consisting of 10 digits, not 7.

Even if 854 area code numbers are not assigned to the Beaufort local calling area for a few years, nevertheless we will be under the aegis of both 843 and 854 as soon as 854 is implemented, and thus we will need to include the area code for ALL local calls, regardless of the area code of the originating number. Mandatory 10-digit dialing is the tradeoff for keeping one's 10-digit number intact for the present and future.