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PACIFIC BELL, GTE OFFER REMINDER: AREA CODE 310 BECOMES MANDATORY ON MAY 16

 PACIFIC BELL, GTE OFFER REMINDER:
 AREA CODE 310 BECOMES MANDATORY ON MAY 16
 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 2.4 million Los Angeles telephone customers come of age with a new area code on Saturday, May 16. That's when people calling the western, coastal, southern and eastern portions of Los Angeles County will need to use area code 310, marking the end of a six-month transition dialing period.
 Since Nov. 2, 1991, customers have been able to dial either 213 or 310 to complete their calls into the new area code. However, after 12:01 a.m. on May 16, customers using 213 for a 310 number will hear a recording telling them to use the new area code.
 May 2 was originally the cut-off date for the interchangeable dialing period. Because of the civil unrest that affected many GTE and Pacific Bell customers and serving areas, however, that deadline was extended. Since the next weekend was Mother's Day, the deadline was further delayed as a convenience to accommodate heavy telephone usage.
 The new area code will not affect the cost of calls, both GTE and Pacific Bell confirm. Calls that are local now will remain local after May 2.
 The six-month period -- when customers could use either area code -- allowed people to get used to the change and also gave business customers time to update their phone systems, stationery and advertising.
 "We announced the new area code almost two years ago in order to give our customers ample time to make necessary adjustments," said Chuck Johnston, Pacific Bell vice president in Los Angeles. "We have strived to minimize the impact on our customers of having a new area code."
 The general boundaries for the new 310 area code are from La Cienega Boulevard to the west, from El Segundo Boulevard to the south, from the Montebello city line to the east and the 818 area code boundary on the north.
 Downtown Los Angeles customers and some surrounding communities will retain 213 for Pacific Bell customers. However, GTE is completely phasing out the 213 area code.
 "For our customers, this is a final good-bye to the 213," said Larry Cox, GTE state manager, public affairs. "So far, our customers affected by the change appear to be making the transition smoothly." In all, the new 310 area code will have 2.4 million assigned numbers. 1.1 million will be GTE customers, 1.3 million will be Pacific Bell. Nearly 2.6 million customers will remain in the 213 area code, all of which will be served by Pacific Bell.
 Cox said GTE has advised its customers about the coming change with bill inserts, advertising and letters, as well as through joint press conferences and media notices with Pacific Bell.
 Cox said that the need for a new area code indicates the population growth and technological advances made in Southern California in recent years. "More and more people today have multiple phone numbers in their homes and businesses," he said. "Customers also commonly have car phones, fax machines, pagers and computers with modems. This necessitated the transition to a new area code. We were running out of phone numbers in the 213 area code."
 Pacific Bell's Johnston added, "Introducing a new area code doubles the telephone numbers available. It also gives Southern California the capability for continued growth and technological advancement."
 Bell Gardens, Beverly Hills, Commerce, Culver City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Lynwood, South Gate and West Hollywood will have neighborhoods in both 213 and 310. This situation will not affect customers' access to 911 or to the operator, and all customers will keep their seven-digit telephone numbers.
 The 213 has served California since 1947, being split once before when the 818 area code was introduced in 1984. After May 16, California will have 12 area codes, more than any other state in the United States. In September of last year, Alameda and Contra Costa counties in Northern California received the 510 area code. And in November 1992, a nine- month interchangeable dialing period begins as the Inland Empire gets the state's 13th code -- the 909.
 -0- 5/14/92
 /CONTACT: Kathleen Flynn, 213-975-4074; Jaya Koilpillai, 800-227-5556, both of GTE California/ CO: GTE California ST: California IN: TLS UTI SU:


DM-JL -- LA009 -- 0032 05/14/92 08:46 EDT
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Date:May 14, 1992
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