The 915 area code which covers El Paso and Hudspeth counties is impacted by the change, as is the 575 area code which covers much of southern New Mexico – including Las Cruces and Alamogordo. The change is being made in those area codes where some phone numbers have 988 prefixes. The Federal Communications Commission last year chose 988 for use as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting next July.
EL PASO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Beginning Sunday, phone users in parts of Texas and all of New Mexico must dial area codes for all calls, including local calls that formerly required only seven digits. According to the Northern American Numbering Plan Administrator, the mandate for 10-digit dialling is gaining traction in a number of states, affecting 82 area codes across the country, including El Paso and Las Cruces (NANPA).
“It’s a minor inconvenience to reprogram the area code in our phones but it will make a huge difference if it will save a life and someone can call 988 when they’re having a mental health crisis,” said Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department and acting secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health.
Beginning Sunday, “calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed,” New Mexico state officials said in a statement. Those callers have to hang up and dial again using the area code and seven-digit telephone number.
Things that won’t change include customers’ telephone numbers or area codes, the prices or rates of phone calls and the need for some long-distances callers to dial “1″ before the area code and the phone number, the NANPA said.