Philly region to welcome new area code 445 this weekend

The Philadelphia region’s newest area code is about to launch.

Saturday will be the first day that the region’s third area code in Pennsylvania, 445, can be placed into service as combinations for 215 and 267 phone numbers are “hitting the point of exhaustion,” said Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

The new overlay will apply to new numbers coming out of Philadelphia as well as parts of Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Berks Counties.

So how will 445 affect you? Users won’t have to change their current numbers or get used to any new dialing habits — the only adjustment will be knowing that getting a call from a 445 number is still local and that the new digits will be used if you change numbers in the future.

“The service area isn’t changing,” Hagen-Frederiksen said.

In 1947, 215 was implemented as the region’s main area code, while 267 was added as an overlay about two decades ago. About 800 prefix combinations are available for each area code, according to the PUC, and available numbers eventually get used up.

The latest code has been in the works for two years, Hagen-Frederiksen said.

“The groundwork was established back in late 2016, but at that point nothing was going to be done to activate any new numbers until we used up the pool of available numbers,” he said.

Philly’s latest area code gained attention earlier this year after some Verizon customers were told that the change would be coming on Feb. 3, which Hagen-Frederiksen said created “some confusion.” An archived FAQ page from Verizon shows the faulty date, later corrected to March 3 in an updated version.

Philadelphians are already giving 445 the coldest of welcomes. Reactions on Twitter range from “the first person to text me with that 445 new philly area code getting blocked” to “we’ll all welcome lebron to philly but he’ll have to settle for a 445 area code.”

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