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 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- After a year of intense preparation and notification, Bell of Pennsylvania is getting the word out to customers to begin using the new 610 area code on Saturday, Jan. 8.
 The new area code has been assigned to customers who live in Chester, Delaware and Northampton counties; most of Lehigh and Berks counties; and portions of Montgomery, Bucks, Lancaster, Monroe and Carbon counties.
 The 215 area code will continue to serve all of Philadelphia, most of Bucks County, and a portion of Montgomery County. The addition of the new area code will not affect local, toll-free calling areas, or what customers pay for telephone service.
 The transition to the area code will last for another year, during which time customers may dial the new code or continue to dial as usual. Beginning Jan. 7, 1995, customers will have to dial the correct area code to complete their calls.
 "To ease customers through the transition, we are encouraging everyone to use the new area code and new dialing procedures now -- and not wait until 1995," said William Harral, vice president-external affairs for Bell of Pennsylvania.
 Harral emphasized there will be no change in rates for local calls placed between the 215 and 610 areas. "What is changing is the way customers will dial calls between 215 and 610 area codes. These calls will require dialing 1, plus the area code, plus the seven-digit telephone number.
 The new area code is necessary because the supply of telephone numbers in the 215 area is nearly exhausted. This is due to the steady growth of telephone number requests by residents and businesses and the heavy demand for numbers to use with fax machines, cellular telephones, pagers and dedicated computer lines.
 Bell of Pennsylvania began advising customers last year about making changes in business and personal stationery, business cards, checks, invoices, directories, product packaging, labels, catalogs, brochures, advertising, promotional items and other printed materials.
 Customers should also notify friends, relatives and business associates of the change -- and reprogram any equipment that stores telephone numbers. This equipment includes home and business security systems, automatic dialers, speed dialers, fax machines, cellular and mobile telephones, computers, and telephone billing systems.
 Since the new 610 area code was announced last January, Bell of Pennsylvania inaugurated an extensive media, mail and personal contact program to notify customers and help them through the two-year transition.
 To further help customers with the changes, Bell of Pennsylvania will:
 -- Provide detailed information in the Customer Guide Pages and other sections of its White and Yellow Pages directories.
 -- Provide reminders via bill inserts, letters and imprinted envelopes.
 -- Print the new area code on the bills of its 610 customers, beginning in June 1994.
 -- Provide a replacement for "610" customers who have the Bell Atlantic IQ calling card.
 Any questions regarding the new area code may be directed to the We Can Help Center at 800-555-5000, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 -0- 1/5/94
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A complete list of the prefixes assigned to the 610 and the 215 area codes is available by fax from the contact.
 The crown lights on the PECO Energy building, Center City Philadelphia, will carry the message, on Jan. 8, 9 and 10, "The telephone Area Code 610 is now in use in Southeastern PA."/
 /CONTACT: Sharon Shaffer or Shirley Risoldi of Bell of Pennsylvania, 800-491-0190/

CO: Bell of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU: PDT

MK-LJ -- PH021 -- 9446 01/05/94 15:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 5, 1994

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