Houston's 4th area code now in place

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Beginning today, the largest city in Texas has a fourth area code.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas put the new 346 telephone area code into effect this morning.

The new number involves an overlay of existing area codes 713, 281 and 832 in Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, Austin, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston and Brazoria counties.

"Sometimes when we look for a 281 number for a customer, it won't come in. Then, we'll have to go through 832 or 713. So it gives a broader range to get another number in there," Radio Shack manager Joel Santiago said.

The North American Number Planning Administrator assigned 346 to Houston after projecting that the three existing area codes will run out of numbers by the end of September.

Longtime locals seem pretty attached to their area code and don't welcome the change.

"I like the 713 and stay with that. I have it, my son has it. My whole family. Happy with 713," Houston resident Soriya Zehl said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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