No longer just ‘the 618,’ southern Illinois is scheduled for a new area code

Illinois Commerce Commission

A new 730 area code overlaying the current 618 area code will be introduced in southern Illinois next year, the Illinois Commerce Commission announced Wednesday.

The new area code addresses the depletion of prefixes available for assignment within the region and will be introduced after July 7, the panel said.

The 618 area code covers all or parts of 37 counties and includes Alton, Belleville, Cairo, Carbondale, Centralia, East St. Louis, Edwardsville and Marion.

Starting July 7, phone customers in the 618 area code may be assigned a number in the new 730 area code when they request new service or an additional line, the commission said.

Customers receiving the 730 area code will be required to dial 10 digits — the area code and phone number — for all local calls, just as customers with telephone numbers with the 618 area code do today.

Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change, the commission said. The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services also will not change. Current local calls will remain local calls.

More information can be found online at www.icc.illinois.gov/programs/Area-Codes.

“The 618 area code is one of the original, eighty-six area codes in the United States, assigned by Bell Laboratories in 1947. It has not undergone any substantive changes to its boundaries since then,” the commerce commission stated in a news release.

In 2006, the commission approved the 730 area code and had “sought to delay implementation for as long as possible.”

“Ongoing conservation efforts have forestalled the need for the new 730 area code until now,” the news release stated.