By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
The month of October will bring a new area code for the majority of the state of New Mexico, including Roosevelt County. For some it will be a minor adjustment, for others there will be lots of hassles and expense.
The northwest region of New Mexico, including Aztec, Farmington and Gallup, and extending east to include Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Santa Fe and Las Vegas will retain the 505 area code while the rest of the state must shift to 575.
Permissive dialing begins Oct. 7, allowing callers to dial either the current 505 area code or the new 575 area code, giving all users a year to adjust to the new digits.
“It’s going to be a huge expense,” president and CEO of Portales’ Sunland Inc. Jimmy Shearer said. “We’re going to have to change all of our literature. We’re going to have to change all of our checks, all of our letterheads — anything that has our number on it is going to have to be changed.”
“Ninety-five plus percent of all of our business is outside the state of New Mexico,” Shearer said.
Since Eastern New Mexico University primarily uses a toll free 800 number for their out-of-state telephone correspondence, that aspect won’t change.
“The thing that comes to my mind is most of the stuff we send outside of this area is a 1-800 number, so I really don’t think it will affect that number,” ENMU public relations director Wendal Sloan said. “I would think the most impact it would have on us would be more for our calls within the (current) 505 area code.”
According to the Yucca Telecom Web site, all calls that were considered local before the area code change will remain local.
Qwest customers will have to dial the 806 area code when calling Farwell beginning Sept. 12 in preparation for the area code change, according to a letter sent to customers.
From Oct. 5, 2008 to Jan. 11, 2009, callers who dial the 505 area code will hear a recorded message telling them to redial the number with 575. After that, telephone companies will be allowed to assign the same seven-digit telephone number in both area codes, which could lead callers to be connected to an unintended party, according to a Public Regulation Commission press release.
— Freedom Newspapers’ Tony Gutierrez contributed to this report