Starting Oct. 24, anyone making a local call in Hawaii must include the 808 area code plus the telephone number in order for the call to go through.

According to a press release Thursday from Hawaiian Telcom, the change was prompted by the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of an order approving “988” as the three-digit code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That began July 16.

Hawaii is among 36 states that use the 988 prefix and now have to transition to 10-digit dialing for local calls.

The FCC order requires all telecommunications carriers including Hawaiian Telcom, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers and one-way VoIP providers “to make any network changes necessary” to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the lifeline.

“If you don’t dial 10 digits, you may hear a recording informing you that your call cannot be completed as dialed,” says the press release.

Safety and security equipment — e.g., medical alert and monitoring devices, alarms, security systems, gates — must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing by Oct. 24 to avoid interruption.

Other devices and services that may need to be re-programmed include:

  • private branch exchanges
  • fax machines
  • internet dial-up numbers
  • speed dialers
  • wireless phone contact lists
  • call forwarding settings
  • voicemail services and other similar functions

The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.

Callers can continue to dial 1 plus the area code plus the telephone number for all long-distance calls.

And emergency calls like 211 and 911 will still require only those three digits.

An Important Note

If you consider nonprofit, independent news to be an essential service that helps keep our community informed, please include Civil Beat among your year-end contributions.

And for those who can, consider supporting us with a monthly gift, which helps keep our content free for those who need it most.

This year, we are making it our goal to raise $225,000 in reader support by December 31, to support our news coverage statewide and throughout the Pacific. Are you ready to help us continue this work?

About the Author