OKLAHOMA CITY — The end of the 405 is near.
Noting that the 405 telephone prefix is expected to be exhausted next year, Oklahoma Corporation Commission commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved a proposed overlay plan that adopts a new area code for much of central Oklahoma.
The plan allows current 405 holders to keep their existing prefixes and phone numbers. Future consumers will be issued numbers with the new area code.
The biggest impact current consumers can expect is a mandatory switch to 10-digit dialing. Rather than pressing seven digits, callers soon will have to start dialing 405 before a number. Long-distance calling will not be impacted.
Mandatory 10-digit dialing is expected by January 2021, officials said. The 405 is expected to be exhausted by December 2021.
The alternative would have been to split the central region into two parts, divvy up the 405 and decide which communities keep their existing numbers.
“We certainly welcome growth in Oklahoma and progress,” said Commissioner Todd Hiett. “With that come changes we need to adapt to.”
The new area code prefix has been set in stone for a decade, but the North American Numbering Plan Administration, which regulates the prefixes, won’t disclose it until Oklahoma Corporation Commission issues the order approving the overlay.
The director previously has said the policy prevents lobbying against pre-selected prefixes. The integrated telephone number plan serves 20 North American countries.
State officials said Wednesday they expect the new prefix to be unveiled later this month.
Lauren Willingham, an Oklahoma Corporation Commission attorney, said no one publicly objected to the overlay plan. Oklahoma telecommunication providers also support it.
She said the matter is time-sensitive because it involves a 13-month implementation plan along with a six-month cushion. Nobody wants the area code to exhaust without a plan in place, she said.
Oklahoma last issued an overlay plan in 2011 to address the exhaustion of the 918 that serves parts of eastern Oklahoma and Tulsa. New consumers receive numbers with a 539 prefix.
The 405 area code currently covers 19 counties including Cleveland, Grady, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma and Payne, Corporation Commission officials said.
Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.