Local 10-digit dialing and the new 639 area code
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is Saskatchewan getting a new area code?
A second area code is now necessary in Saskatchewan due to the increase in competitive activity among existing and new service providers within the province. In addition, the growth of wireless services, and the proliferation of wireless devices, has helped to deplete the pool of available numbers within the 306 area code.
- Who made this decision?
What does it mean to me? On August 26, 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a decision regarding the implementation of a new area code for Saskatchewan. The decision indicated that the overlay method will be used to implement the new 639 area code alongside the existing 306 area code, which will in turn require mandatory 10-digit dialing for local calls across the province. SaskTel will move to mandatory local 10-digit dialing beginning May 11, 2013.* The move to 10-digit dialing impacts all telephone service providers operating in Saskatchewan. SaskTel and the other providers are all working to implement 10-digit dialing under the supervision of the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA) and the CRTC.
- Will my phone number change?
No, your current area code and phone number will not change.
- Why aren't we just splitting the province in half with 306 in one half and 639 in the other?
The overlay method was chosen over the provincial split method because it does not require current customers to change their area code. The new area code is added to the geographic region served by an existing area code. The two area codes co-exist, allowing for an increase in the number of available telephone numbers. Over the past decade the overlay method has been the CRTC's method of choice for implementing new area codes.
- Why 639? Why not a different area code?
There were a number of possible area codes to choose from. The Relief Implementation Committee, made up of all telephone service providers operating in Saskatchewan, agreed to propose 639 as the new area code and the CRTC approved that recommendation.
- When will I have to start dialing 10 digits?
10-digit dialing for local calls is tentatively scheduled to become mandatory for all SaskTel residential and business customers beginning May 11, 2013. In other words, callers will need to dial the area code plus the phone number they are calling.
- Do I need to dial 1 before placing a 10-digit local call?
No, you do not need to dial 1 before placing a 10-digit local call. Simply enter the area code and the phone number. You only need to dial 1 first if it's a long distance call.
- Do I have to add the area code when dialing special 310 phone numbers?
No you are not required to add the area code when dialing 310 phone numbers. It's optional.
- What happens if I just keep dialing 7 digits for local calls?
Starting February 25, 2013 callers will hear a phone message if they dial 7 digits for a local call reminding them that they must dial 10 digits in future. The call will still be automatically completed.
Then starting May 11, 2013, when mandatory 10-digit dialing for local calls begins across the province, callers who dial only 7 digits will hear a phone message reminding them that they must dial 10 digits for local calls and the call cannot be completed as dialed.
*(during peak calling hours, not all calls may receive the announcement)
- Do I have to dial the area code before calling 911?
Existing 3-digit numbers such as 911, 611 and 411 will continue to be 3-digit numbers and won't be affected.
- Will long distance dialing change too?
Will my local calling area change? Long distance calls will not change – callers will continue to dial 1, then the area code, then the phone number to make a long distance call. Local calling areas will not change. Calls that were local before 10-digit dialing will still be local after 10-digit dialing is introduced. Calls that were long distance calls before 10-digit dialing will still be long distance after 10-digit dialing is introduced.
- Why can some customers dial local calls using a 1 plus the 10 digit number from their cellphone?
With the recent introduction of 4G LTE, SaskTel now has in place several wireless networks including the 4G Network (UMTS network) and the CDMA Network. With new technologies come new capabilities. While the 4G and 4G LTE Networks are capable of identifying a long distance call dialed with 10 digits, our CDMA network requires SaskTel customers to dial 1+ for all long distance numbers.
SaskTel has decided to leave both networks operating as is for the foreseeable future. This means customers using the 4G or 4G LTE network can dial long distance using 1 plus the number or will continue to receive the following message if they use 10 digits for a long distance call:
"You have dialed a number to which long distance charges apply. To complete the call, please stay on the line or hang up now if you do not wish to complete the call."
Customers who remain on the CDMA network will be required to dial 11 digits for a long distance call, and will continue to be prompted to dial 1 plus the number if they dial only 10 digits for a long distance call.
- When is the new area code 639 being introduced? Can I get a 639 number from SaskTel as soon as the new area code is in effect?
The effective date of the new area code is May 25, 2013 as outlined in the CRTC decision on the implementation of a new area code. This date is based on a forecast provided by the Canadian Numbering |Association which indicated that Saskatchewan would exhaust all 306 area code numbers by this date.
SaskTel will continue to distribute numbers with the 306 area code until numbers with the 306 area code are no longer available.
- Who gets the new 639 area code? Are you retiring 306?
Once 639 is introduced, the 306 and 639 area codes will be assigned to new phone numbers interchangeably throughout the province. (For example, a customer's home phone number may have a 306 area code but that customer's new cell phone number may have the 639 area code. Or a customer's new next door neighbour may have a different area code.)
- Can I pick the area code I want?
Customers requesting a new number will not be able to reserve or request a specific area code. Phone numbers will be generated randomly with either 306 or 639 and customers will be assigned the next available phone number.
- Could someone else in Saskatchewan have the same phone number as me, but with a different area code?
Yes, two different people within Saskatchewan could potentially have the same phone number - one with the 306 area code and the other with the 639 area code. Customers will need to ensure they use the correct area code when placing calls.
- Can I start using 10-digit dialing now? How do I get ready?
Yes customers across the province can now choose to begin using 10-digit dialing for local calls. Customers can also begin updating the programmed numbers in their telecommunications equipment such as: home phones, cell phones and other wireless devices, fax machines, modems, equipment for the hearing impaired, home security systems, etc. Customers should make any necessary changes to calling features such as: speed dial, call forwarding and call blocking. And customers should begin providing their 10-digit phone number in all instances where they need to provide a contact number such as: personal cheques, medical forms, stationary, business cards, insurance forms, etc.
- What will happen to my security system when 10-digit dialing starts? Will it still work?
Customers who have a security system should be aware that SaskTel is providing 10-digit dialing information to security providers operating in Saskatchewan. In order to ensure that security systems are capable of dialing the correct 10-digit number beginning May 11, 2013, security providers may need to visit customer premises to make changes to security equipment. If you have any questions about your security system's 10-digit dialing readiness, please contact your security provider.
- How can I make my wireless device dial 10 digits automatically?
Your wireless device is already capable of dialing 10 digits automatically. When adding someone's phone number to your "Contacts", be sure to include the area code (for example, 306-555-5555). When you want to phone that number from your wireless device, just select it from your contact list and your device will automatically dial the 10-digit number.
- What impact will 10 digit dialing have on texting and other forms of instant messaging (example: BBM)?
Beginning May 11, 2013, if you enter only 7 digits to send a text message, you will receive a message indicating the text message cannot be transmitted and that you must add the area code in order to complete the message. You will be prompted to program your device to handle 10-digits for future text messages.
Sending a BBM or other IM will also be unaffected by the new area code. This is because those services are sent via the data network which doesn't utilize a phone number and area code. Instead they use a PIN or other unique identifier.
- Are there apps that make it easier to manage my contacts on my Wireless Device?
Yes, there are a number of applications available on both the Android and iOS platforms that make it easier and more convenient to manage the contacts on your device(s). Some of these applications also allow you manage your contact lists on the web. For more information on these types of applications please visit the appropriate application store for your device.
* Two small northern communities, Kinoosao and Uranium City, are the only Saskatchewan communities that can continue to use 7-digit dialing for local calls after May 2013. Approximately 150 customers in these two communities can dial 7 or 10 digits until SaskTel upgrades switching equipment in those communities within the next several years, at which time callers will have to dial 10 digits for a local call.