Typically most states have multiple area codes that determine where someone is calling from. Montana is one out of eleven states that don't have the population or size to have a second area code; that is, until recently. As it turns out, Montana is running out of phone numbers in the 406 area code. It's already been reported, but what's the status?

Each Phone Prefix Only Gets 1000 Numbers

What does that mean? Well, it's easier to explain exactly what makes up a phone number. The area code is the first three numbers, so in our case, that's 406. The prefix is the three numbers after the area code, and they determine where within that area code the call is coming from. In the case of Montana, our prefixes range from 200 to 999.

The last 4 numbers are assigned from 0000 to 9999 in each prefix, so there are 10,000 numbers that each prefix gets. But, that's it. And all of Montana's prefixes are running out. Recently, the Montana Public Service Commission asked the Federal Communications Commission to extend the 406 area code, which is expected to max out in the year 2027. No new news has come forward regarding the creation of a new area code.

Area Codes are Also Necessary to Make Phone Calls at All

Recently, Montanans had to get used to dialing 406 to make phone calls. Before the change, Montanans who had 406 area code numbers could just dial the other 7 numbers and get connected with no problem. This was due to the change of the Suicide Prevention Hotline number to 988, which is a prefix we have in our state.

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How fast do you think Montana will run out of 406 phone numbers? I think it's not necessary at this time, but it's possible we will have something other than 406 to dial soon.

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