Area code - should they be entered in Contacts?

I screwed up badly one time in 1996 by entering the area code on a modem access number. it was a local number. End of the month my mom got a $350 phone bill. OMG. It had been getting billed as a long distance call. Every single time their computer connected. It took quite a persuasive call to customer service to get those charges waived.

Since then I’ve always entered local numbers without an area code. The downside is the contact entry won’t work if I’m out of town. I have to dial manually and include the area code.

I’m not sure how it works on the new VoIP connections. Is it safe to enter area code in Contacts for local numbers? Or is it best to leave it off?

Btw, my old flip phone was a prepaid, pay as you Go AT&T phone. Long distance was expensive.

My landline at home is VoIP and is bundled with my UVerse.

My new smart phone is through Consumer Cellular. I get 250 mins and 1.5GB data on my plan. I don’t think it matters if this mins are local or long distance. But, I’m not sure.

In the Atlanta area, and I assume any other metro area with multiple area codes, we have to dial 10 digits for local calls.

Because of that, I’d default to entering it for all contacts.

I had no idea that anyone could still make a local call without entering an area code. I’m guessing it’s been a decade in DC since that could be done.

If it’s a VOIP service, doesn’t that tend to mean unlimited long distance?

Yes, I leave them on my cell phone and don’t get a difference in the bill. And in some areas (large cities) the area code is mandatory if two area codes are overlaid over the same geographic area.

My phone’s area code is an area code that I haven’t lived in for a decade.

Well, scientists have discovered that even monkeys can memorize 10 numbers.
Are you stupider than a monkey?

I think everybody has free domestic long distance in the USA now. I live in one of the cities where you don’t need an area code for local numbers, just for out-of-area numbers, so I enter the area code just for the numbers not in my area.

Did you know if you’re dialing from a cell phone, you don’t need to dial 1 before an area code?

With the exception of international calls, I had no idea that long distance was still a thing.

This is the strategy I used on my flip phone contacts.

I’ll probably do the same on my smart phone contacts.

The phone is assigned to a specific area code? Doesn’t matter if I go out of town and it’s in my pocket. The phone still thinks it’s in my local area and can dial local numbers without an area code? I think that’s how it works.

I can easily add the area code to my local contacts if the phone company starts requiring it. I doubt that will ever happen in my city. My state doesn’t have a large population.

I know area codes are losing their meaning. I have a co-worker with a Missouri Area code. He’s been in my state for 7 years. I guess he’ll never get the right area code.

I always enter the area code and my phone always dials it. Local, “long distance”, it doesn’t matter.

I have to, it’s included with the number where I live. My husband has also gotten me in the habit of placing a 1 before the area code.


When I read the thread title, I was expecting it to be a reanimated zombie from 2000.

Oh now. VoIP has only caught on in the past few years. Cellular calls were very expensive in the 1990’s.

Before that we were all at the mercy of Ma Bells archaic billing. The Nights and Weekends rate plans. Lots of fun.

I can remember VoIP kits being sold at Best Buy around 2000. You could use your PC to make free long distance calls over your modem. But the other person needed the same setup to receive it on their PC.

Even in the 90s, when cell calls were expensive, they were equally expensive for local and long distance.

That said, though, I think that most landline Plain Old Telephone Service plans still charge extra for long distance. At least, I’m certain that my mom’s does. Which she deals with by simply using her cell phone whenever she wants to make a long-distance call.

Annoyingly, this varies. Here in Connecticut you have to dial the area code but not the one. If you do dial the one, you get a message from the local phone company reminding you not to.

I really wish this were consistent across North America.

Which is stupid – there are only two area codes for the entire state, and they don’t overlap.

Not any more. There are four now.

See, I don’t ever remember a time where the 1 was optional. I have memories of trying to dial without the one in the late 80s or early 90s here in Chicago and getting a prerecorded message admonishing me. I guess I thought the 1 before an area code was always required as some sort of telephony signal.
So this wasn’t the case?

ETA: just noticed the posts above that mileage highly varies depending where you are.

I set my cell phone to dial the area code, sans “1”, for all numbers. And it never, ever fails. Regardless of where I travel.

Me either. Mobile phone calls here cost the same no matter whether you’re ringing someone in the next room or the other side of the country.

Oddly, I don’t have to dial 07 before phoning from anyone with a fixed line in Queensland (where I am, and which is a big place), but if I want to ring Sydney it won’t work without an 02 in front of it and forgetting the 03 means I’m not talking to that person in Melbourne either.

What’s interesting is I’ve been travelling quite a bit in the past year with my phone on international roaming and most of my contacts don’t have the +61 International Direct Dial Code for Australia stored in them, yet I can still ring them from overseas without any issues - somehow the phone network knows I’m trying to call Australia and makes it happen.

Yeah, with cell phones that doesn’t surprise me. I’m sure they’re smart enough to figure it out and insert whatever is needed. I mean with landlines – yes, they still exist. For cell phones, I don’t travel abroad as much as I used to, but when I did, all my numbers would be stored in the “+country code” format, so American numbers would be +1 312 XXX XXXX format. Domestically the “+1” would be ignored or just treated as a normal “1” or whatever, but internationally, the “+” would signal an international call, so I didn’t have to enter separate numbers if I’m some place where 011 is the dial-out code or 00 or 99, etc.