Philly and Its Northern ’Burbs Are Getting a Third Area Code: 445

It’s rolling out this weekend.

We know the area codes for Philly and its northern suburbs like the back of our hands: 215 and 267. But starting in March, we’ll have to make room for a third: 445.

Officials say a 445 overlay area code will be assigned to new telephone numbers in Philadelphia and parts of Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties. Don’t worry: Current phone numbers and call prices in the area won’t change.

The shift, which will ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, is expected to go into effect on Saturday, March 3rd. According to Verizon, here’s what won’t be affected:

  • Your current phone number, including current area code
  • The price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services
  • Calls that are now considered local will remain local calls
  • 911 calls aren’t affected, only 3 digits are required
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you’ll still be able to call them by entering just 3 digits
  • All local calls will remain local.

Some trivia: Until 1997, Pennsylvania had just four area codes: 814 (northwest), 412 (Pittsburgh area), 717 (central) and 215 (Philadelphia). Then the demand for telephone lines exploded. Now, the state has 12 (soon to be 13). The Public Utility Commission, which oversees area codes in Pennsylvania, explains the need for new area codes on its website. According to the organization:

“There are only 792 combinations of prefixes available to be used with an area code. Some prefixes are unavailable because they are used for public access information, such as 911 or 411. Prefixes are assigned to specific geographic locations called rate centers. This means they cannot be used in more than one rate center. When there are no more prefixes available for the rate centers located within geographic area the area code encompasses, another area code must be established.”

Some people aren’t pleased with the switch.