COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina will likely gain a fourth area code by the end of 2015.
The state Public Service Commission announced Tuesday that the group responsible for coordinating area codes in the U.S. has filed a petition calling for relief in the state's fast-growing 843 region. The petition doesn't specify what the new number would be.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator expects numbers to run out for the area code in the state's coastal and Pee Dee regions in the fourth quarter of 2015. It recommends creating an additional area code for new customers in the 843 region.
Existing customers would keep their current numbers. But everyone within the region would have to start using all 10 digits to place local phone calls, rather than seven.
The petition recommends a 13-month implementation schedule.
The plan goes before the commission for approval. A public hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 3.
South Carolina last added an area code 15 years ago.
The state's 803 area code first split in December 1995, when 864 went into service for numbers in the state's northwestern corner, which includes Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson.
It split again in March 1998, when 843 became the area code for all or parts of 21 counties that include the cities of Beaufort, Charleston, Florence and Myrtle Beach.