The main area code, 256, was created on March 23, 1998, as a split from area code 205. In order to allow people time to reprogram electronics such as computers, cell phones, pagers and fax machines, use of the 205 area code continued in the 256 areas through September 28, 1998.
It covers north and northeast Alabama and includes the following metropolitan areas:
- Huntsville Metropolitan Area
- Decatur Metropolitan Area
- The Shoals
- Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area
- Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Area
In March 2009, the Alabama Public Service Commission announced that the state's first overlay area code, 938, would be added on top of the current 256 area code "sometime in 2011". As a result, 10-digit dialing was implemented for all numbers in the area with voluntary compliance beginning on November 7, 2009, and mandatory use by June 5, 2010 instead of dialing 7 digits. The 938 area code took effect beginning July 10, 2010. This timing roughly coincided with the end of the originally projected 12-year "life span" of the original 256 area code.
Counties and cities included
- Blount County (part, near Arab on Brindlee Mountain, most of Blount County is in area code 205)
- Calhoun County (part, some of Calhoun County is in area code 205)
- Cherokee County
- Clay County
- Cleburne County
- Colbert County
- Coosa County
- Cullman County
- DeKalb County
- Elmore County (part, most of Elmore County is in area code 334)
- Etowah County (part, some of Etowah County is in area code 205)
- Franklin County (part, some of Franklin County is in area code 205)
- Jackson County
- Lawrence County
- Lauderdale County
- Limestone County
- Madison County
- Marshall County
- Morgan County
- Randolph County (part, some of Randolph County is in area code 334)
- Saint Clair County (part, the Steele area. Most of Saint Clair County is in area code 205)
- Talladega County (part, the Lincoln area is in area code 205)
- Tallapoosa County (part, some of Tallapoosa County is in area code 334)
- Winston County (part, most of Winston County is in area code 205)
- List of Alabama area codes
- List of NANP area codes
- North American Numbering Plan
- List of area code overlays
- Underwood, Jerry (March 16, 1998). "Countdown starts to new area code: 2...5...6". The Birmingham News. p. 1A.
- Lowry, Bob (March 4, 2009). "Flex your fingers for 10-digit dialing in 2010". The Huntsville Times.
- "Order for Relief of the 256 Numbering Plan Area" (PDF). Alabama Public Service Commission. March 3, 2009.
- Associated Press (October 6, 2009). "10-digit calls in Alabama's 256 area code to begin". The Birmingham News. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Introducing Alabama's New Area Code 938" (PDF) (Press release). AT&T. November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 18, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
|Alabama area codes: 205/659, 251, 256/938, 334|
|West: 662, 205/659||256/938||East: 706/762, 770/678/470|
|South: 205/659, 334|
|Tennessee area codes: 423, 615/629, 731, 865, 901, 931|
|Mississippi area codes: 228, 601/769, 662|
|Georgia area codes: 229, 404, 470/678, 478, 706/762, 770, 912|