Idaho won’t add its second area code – 986 – until late 2017. But beginning Saturday, Idaho residents can start practicing using an area code for in-state calls, which will become mandatory in August.
The second area code is necessary to keep up with the state’s growth in phone numbers, resulting from the increased use of cellphones and technologies such as the Voice over Internet Protocol, reports S-R reporter Becky Kramer; you can read her full report here. The 986 area code will be assigned to new phone numbers starting in the fall of 2017. Existing numbers will keep the 208 area code.
The phase-in to 10-digit dialing will include an educational campaign.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission and telecommunications providers wanted to allow plenty of time for customers to get used to dialing area codes for in-state calls, said Paul Kjellander, commission president.
Over the next nine months, customers should change the numbers they have programmed into their phones to include the area code. When mandatory 10-digit dialing begins next August, all calls, even local calls, will require an area code. Callers who don’t dial 10 digits will get a recording telling them to hang up and dial again and include the area code.
Other devices with automatic dialing equipment, such as fax machines and security systems, will also need to be updated to include area code.
Callers will still dial just three digits when calling 911, 211, 411 and 811.