Area codes 518 and 838 are telephone area codes in the North American Numbering Plan for eastern Upstate New York in the United States. 518 is one of the 86 original North American area codes created in 1947. Area code 838 was added to the 518 numbering plan area in 2017. The two area codes serve 24 counties and 1,200 ZIP Code areas in a numbering plan area (NPA) that extends from the eastern Mohawk Valley to the Vermont border, and from the Canada–US border to south of Albany. The bulk of the population is in the Capital District, the vicinity of the cities Albany, Schenectady, and Troy. Other cities in the NPA are Glens Falls, Plattsburgh, and Saratoga Springs. It includes the Upper Hudson Valley counties, Greene and Columbia counties, and some northern parts of Dutchess County.
The 518 numbering plan area is the only one of New York's original five NPAs that still has its original boundaries. Despite the presence of the Capital District, this part of New York is not as densely populated as the rest of the state. As a result, even with the proliferation of cell phones and pagers (particularly in the Capital District and Glens Falls), it was one of the few remaining original area codes not counting those serving an entire state, that had not been split or overlaid. By the spring of 2016, however, 518 was on the verge of depletion of available central office codes to create more telephone numbers and it was projected that the region would need another area code by 2019. By the autumn, however, it was anticipated that 518 would be depleted during the third quarter of 2017. An additional area code, 838, was approved to be implemented during the autumn of 2017.
From March 18 to August 19, 2017, telephone calls could be made using seven digits or ten digits (area code + seven digit number). Ten-digit dialing became mandatory on August 20, 2017, with recorded messages reminding callers if they dialed incorrectly. On September 19, 2017, area code 838 was activated, making this the second overlay in the upstate region.
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