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New 514 Numbers Are Running Out, But Montreal's New Area Code Buys Us Some Time

Don't worry, the 514s will be recycled...

Staff Writer
An aerial view of Montreal's downtown area. Right: someone uses a phone to take a picture.

An aerial view of Montreal's downtown area. Right: someone uses a phone to take a picture.

Montreal's new area code, 263, has been in place for almost a month since its debut on October 22, when it stepped in to relieve the other area codes, as they run out of available numbers. The 438 and 514 codes were predicted to run out in 2027, according to the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA), which runs periodic forecasts to track when new codes need to be introduced.

Now that 263 has entered the arena, the CNA forecasts that Montreal won't run out of Central Office (CO) codes any time soon. CO codes are the three-digit sequences in your phone number that come right after the area code, the CNA is responsible for tracking and assigning these sequences. The latest forecast predicts Montreal's CO codes, including those made available by the new 263 area code, "will exhaust in February of 2033," Kelly Walsh, program manager from the CNA, told MTL Blog over email.

In other words, 438 might be a retro commodity in the 2030s, just like the 514 is right now. 263 will have to wait for her nostalgia moment to shine, though, since there aren't yet plans for any more new codes.

"Since the addition of 263, [...] there have been no other codes 'set aside' for the area," Walsh added. And that makes sense — the new area code gave the CNA six more years of plenty before new area codes would need to be introduced.

You might be wondering how much information the CNA actually has about phone numbers, but Walsh clarified that the CNA "is not aware of individual telephone numbers in any way." They only track area codes and CO codes, so those last four digits are only known to you, your friends and your telephone provider.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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