People across B.C. will have to get used to a new way of dialing telephone numbers starting Monday.

After an explosion of cell phone use and a huge demand for new numbers across the province, 10-digit dialing is coming to the rest of B.C.

Last year, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission granted permission for the 778 area code -- now used only in the Lower Mainland -- to be extended across the province.

That means callers on Vancouver Island and B.C.'s Interior, who have not until now needed to dial an area code to make a local call, will have to dial either their traditional 250 or 778 area code on all calls.

No one will have to change their phone numbers, and the rules and boundaries that govern long-distance calling will not be affected.

Anyone trying to make a phone call with only seven numbers will hear a recording telling them they need to dial the area code before the call is connected.

As of September 12, the recording will disappear, and only 10-digit calls will go through.

Before 1997, when the 250 area code was added for phone numbers outside the Lower Mainland, all B.C. numbers were under the 604 area code.

And then in 2001, the Lower Mainland was granted the 778 area code -- and residents have been dialing 10 digits ever since.

All three-digit numbers, including 411 and 911 emergency service, will remain the same.