The 512 area code, which has about 8 million phone numbers on record, will be exhausted by the end of the year. Soon, new phone numbers will come with a 737 area code.
Terry Hadley is a spokesman for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, a group that regulates state telecommunications. He says the need for another area code in and around Austin is due to “explosive” growth in cell phone lines.
“That is what is exhausting the available supply,” he says. “In regard to land lines, there’s been a reduction in residential land lines, but it’s been more than offset in the vast increase in cell phone numbers.”
Hadley says about ten years ago, it looked like Central Texas was going to need another area code, but due to a concept called “number pooling” which increased the number of available phone numbers from providers, the region able to put it off. “The 737 area code has been designated for our area for several years, and now it’s time to put it in play,” he says.
The new area code will only affect new numbers. Existing customers will get to keep the 512 area code. The PUC has scheduled a hearing on the new code May 17.