The supply of 870 numbers in Arkansas is expected to run out in late 2013. In preparation, the Arkansas Public Service Commission announced that all new phone numbers created inside the 870 area will receive a 327 area code beginning sometime in 2012.
The 870 area code was created in 1997 as a split from the state-wide 501 area code. The 501 area code was split again in 2002 with the addition of the northwest Arkansas based 479 area codes. Instead of splitting up the area and requiring a portion of the state's phone customers to change their numbers again, the commission chose to use the overlay plan which will result in two area codes serving the same area.
Arkansans within the current 870 area will have to use an area code even when making local calls. Customers will not, however, be charged long distance fees for making those local calls, despite having to dial all 10 digits.