Joe Gray

Grove Sun

Calling the corner drugstore, or pizza delivery is about to get a little trickier.

Beginning March 5, you will have to dial all 10 digits to make a call, long distance or not.

Whether you have realized it or not, the 918 area code has been in a transitional phase since August of 2010. During that time, customers have been able to make local calls without the area code under a “permissive calling period” established by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

On Saturday, that period will end and you will be required to dial 918, or the new 539 area code with every call.

The 539 area code is being added due to the prediction that 918 will run out of numbers by the fourth quarter of 2012. Numbers beginning with 539 will be distributed beginning on April 1, 2011. New 918 numbers will also be given out, if they are available.

Even though it will feel like you are calling long distance, there will be no difference in the way you are charged for the calls. If a new 539 number is issued in your local area, those calls will not be long distance either.

Standard three-digit emergency and information calls, such as 911 and 411 will not change. Those services will still be available by dialing the usual three digits.

The proliferation of cell phones and other new technology is responsible for the dwindling supply of numbers according to the Corporation Commission.