Two years after area code overlay plans were revealed, South Carolina residents will have to dial 10 digits when trying to reach out and touch their friends and family by phone starting this Saturday.
One month later — on Oct. 19 — the new 854 area code will be in use.
The first batch of 854 numbers will be given to new residents and businesses and will serve the same geographic area currently served by the 843 area code.
The 843 and 854 prefixes will cover the eastern third of South Carolina — the Sandhills, Grand Strand and Lowcountry regions.
Jim McDaniel, program manager for the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, said he doesn’t anticipate the overlay process to correlate to higher phone bills.
“Certainly there’s a cost associated with doing this, and that is generally part of the normal modification of the network,” he said. “There’s no specific expense to the consumers…It’s a cost of doing business.”
As people move away, it may free up some 843 numbers, but those will mostly reserved for businesses and government who want to keep all office numbers under the same area code, officials said.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 843-537-5261.