Starting Sunday, phone calls in Hawaii won’t work unless you dial ′808′ first

HNN News Brief for Oct. 20, 2021
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 1:27 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 1:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A change is coming to all local phone calls starting Sunday.

All phone service providers will be implementing mandatory 10-digit local calling.

This means Hawaii residents ― from Sunday on ― will need to include area code 808 before dialing the phone number they want to reach, or the call may not be completed.

This change applies to all local calls, including those on the same island.

It’s coming after the Federal Communications Commission adopted 988 as the new three-digit nationwide number to get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. That number will be activated on July 16, 2022.

[If you need help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.]

Ann Nishida Fry, of Hawaiian Telcom, said the change will impact nearly 40 states that use 988 as a pre-fix for phone calls, Hawaii included.

“988 is just a simpler number to remember. It’s easy and fast just like 911. So for an important service like a suicide prevention lifeline, the FCC wanted to have a three-digit number for folks to reach them if they need it,” she said.

The change to 10-digit calling also means other devices that utilize telecommunications — such as life safety systems, medical monitoring devices, fax machines, etc. — will have to be reprogrammed to include the area code.

Phone numbers will remain the same. For more information on the change, click here.

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