News Canada

Get ready for 10-digit phone calls


Calling all Manitobans - start getting your 10-digit dialing into gear.

Residents, and especially businesses, are being urged to make their telecommunications equipment work for 10-digit dialing to prepare for another telephone area code slated to take effect in November 2012.

Communications gear such as fax machines, computers, alarm systems and auto-dialers must be made compatible with 10-digit calling by late July 2012.

Lucie Pugliese, spokeswoman for the Telecommunications Alliance, said Tuesday the changes don't have to wait that long because telecom companies operating in Manitoba will be able to handle calls using 10 digits as early as Dec. 1 of this year.

"We want to give business customers advance notice," she said from Montreal. "They can plan ahead."

As of July 29, 2012, Manitoba callers who don't dial all 10 digits will hear a recorded reminder of the change. In the months after that, another recording will tell callers dialing seven digits to hang up and try again including the area code.

Manitoba will add the 431 code to the existing 204 through an "overlay," so both codes will cover the same geographic areas.

Pugliese pointed out the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver areas are among several regions in Canada that have added area codes through overlays rather than dividing codes along geographic lines.