619 area codes running out of numbers

SAN DIEGO -- With only 10 percent of the area code left, San Diego’s 619 phone numbers are running out.

The area code is expected to run out by the first quarter of 2019.

“We (619) have about 75 prefixes left, 858 has plenty of prefixes, so the industry is proposing that we eliminate this boundary and use the prefixes from 858 also in the 619 and some of the 619 prefixes will also be used up in here (858),” said Joe Cocke with the North American Numbering Plan Administration, a third party responsible for forecasting the exhaust of geographic area codes.

The proposed solution is called the boundary elimination overlay.

Pending the California Public Utilities Commission approval, the overlay would allow all customers to keep their current phone numbers, including their area code.

“An alternative to that would be just to add one new area code -- just to 619 -- and leave 858 alone,” Cocke said.

With an overlay the FCC requires customers to dial 10 digits with every call, which sparked concern at Tuesday’s public meeting.

“I’m very concerned with the seniors disabled and those in a hurry that are going to be required to dial every single phone call that they are dialing with 10-digit numbers,” said Miriam Plotkin of La Mesa.

However, the added prefixes would only apply if one is calling from a landline. It would not change what a call costs and wouldn't mean your call is toll-free or long distance.

“If it’s a land line, you’d have to dial 1 plus 10 like you do today when you dial from one area code to another. If it’s a cell phone, it’s just 10 digits," Cocke said.

Another public meeting is scheduled for October 5 at 11 a.m. at the Pine Valley Improvement Club located at 28890 Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley.