Area codes 256 and 938 are telephone numbering plan codes that mostly cover North Alabama as well as some eastern portions of the state.
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:
In March 2009, the Alabama Public Service Commission announced that the state's first all-services overlay area code, 938, would be added with 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.