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Different dialing

A change is ahead for everyone in the 515 area code of Iowa

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Apr 1, 2021

The 515 area code, which spans central Iowa, includes all of Emmet County’s neighbor, Kossuth County, as well as a tiny chunk of eastern Palo Alto County. The Federal Communications Commission made the rule recently, and if you are in these areas, you can begin dialing the area code for local calls on April 24.

Beginning October 24, callers must dial the entire ten-digit code for both the 515 and the eastern Iowa 319 area codes. Phone numbers will not change, and local calls will still be local, but you must dial a “1” with the area code for long-distance calls.

The change is coming because a new, National Suicide Prevention Hotline is being launched which will allow callers to dial just 9-8-8, instead of remembering an entire toll free number. Those same three digits are used as a prefix for local numbers in area codes 515, 319, and area codes in 35 other states.

Mobile phone users already use an area code to dial out, and beginning October 24, the area code will be mandatory on all calls in those two area codes. So far, the 712 area code on landlines is still safe from being required for local calls.