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Mandatory 10-digit dialing begins Saturday

'The only thing that changes is all local calls will have to dial 10 digits'

Making a call? Don’t forget the area code.

Beginning Saturday, Aug. 5, Idahoans will need to dial the area code along with the seven-digit telephone number to make a local call.

To clarify: Existing telephone numbers with the 208 area code will not change; and on Sept. 5, the new 986 area code will start being assigned to those requesting a new phone number.

“The only thing that changes is all local calls will have to dial 10 digits,” said Matt Evans, public information officer for the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC).

IPUC approved a new area code for the state in December 2015 to address the need for additional phone numbers. To implement the new area code, the commission also approved mandatory 10-digit dialing for all of Idaho.

The new area code, 986, will cover the entire state. As numbers are needed, assignments may be made out of the new 986 area code beginning on Sept. 5. Some areas in the state are expected to exhaust their supply of numbers with the 208 area code before other areas.

On Aug. 5, if consumers dial only seven digits, the call will not complete and the caller will hear an announcement instructing them to redial with the area code included.

Important facts for consumers:

  • Current telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • Consumers will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number to complete long distance calls.
  • A local call will remain a local call.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change.
  • Calling 911 will not change.
  • Consumers will continue to dial three digits to reach 211 and 811, as well as 311 and 511, where available.

According to the commission, consumers must confirm that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software or other types of equipment recognize the new 986 area code. This may include life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, ankle monitors, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and similar functions.

Consumers should also check business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in the telephone number.

For information, visit the PUC website at or contact your telephone service provider.


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