ILLINOIS (WEHT) – A new area code is coming to southern Illinois.

The Illinois Commerce Commission says the new 730 area code will “overlay” the existing 618 area code to address the issue where there are too few prefixes available for assignment within the region. The first prefix in the new area code will not be introduced until after July 7, 2023.

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

Government officials say NeuStar, now Somos, originally filed a petition on behalf of the Illinois Telecommunications Industry seeking a new area code for 618 on October 19, 2000. On January 4, 2006, the ICC approved the addition of area code 730, to be deployed in the geographic area now served by area code 618. The Commission sought to delay implementation for as long as possible. Ongoing conservation efforts have forestalled the need for the new 730 area code until now.

Government officials say telephone customers should know the following:

  •  Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change.
  •  The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  •  What is a local call now will remain a local call.
  •  Customers in the overlay region will continue to dial 10 digits for local calls within and between the overlay area codes, and 1+10 digits for long distance calls.
  •  Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 988, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 if those are currently available in their community.

Customers should continue to dial their three-digit area code and seven-digit telephone number, and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates and customers.

Customers should also ensure their websites, personal and business stationery and printed checks, advertising materials, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags include the area code.

For more information, people should contact their local telephone service provider or visit the Illinois Commission website.