Area Code

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Starting Saturday, people across Idaho will have to adjust to a new normal: dialing 10-digits when they place a call – even local ones. The shift comes as the Gem State prepares to adopt a second area code: 986.

2-0-8, those numbers have been synonymous with Idaho since 1947 when area codes were introduced. But, 70 years later, phone numbers prefaced by those three digits are in short supply.

Fernando Clavijo / Flickr

There are just a few days left to guarantee a phone number with the 208 area code synonymous with Idaho. Starting Saturday, callers in the Gem State will have to start dialing full 10-digit phone numbers as Idaho inaugurates its second area code.

New numbers will start being assigned the 986 area code in early September, but 208 numbers could run out sooner in some places, forcing early adoption of the new digits.

Kathy Willens / AP Photo

Idaho residents soon will have to enter an area code to call other people in the state.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that starting in August, Idaho telephone customers must start punching in 10 digits to make a call.

Anyone who gets a new phone number after Sept. 5 will be assigned the new area code 986.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission announced in late 2015 that the new code will overlay existing 208 users rather than split the state into two divisions to assign the new number.

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials have announced workshops throughout the state to help telephone customers transition to a second area code and the resulting need for 10-digit dialing.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission in a statement Wednesday says voluntary 10-digit dialing begins in November and mandatory 10-digit dialing starts in August 2017.

Idaho has been assigned a 208 code since 1947, and will get a new three-digit code next year.

Officials say the new code of 986 to be issued to new telephone numbers will overlay existing 208 users rather than split the state.

Boise State Public Radio

Make some room, 208.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the change Monday. People with the current 208 number, which has been around since 1947, will be able to keep their area code. “986” will get assigned to new phone numbers beginning in 2017.

Once the second area code is added, 10-digit dialing will be required throughout the state.  

Your Next Idaho Phone Number Might Not Start With 208

Jun 18, 2013
208 Idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In less than a decade, Idaho will likely join the ranks of states with more than one area code. That’s right, Idaho’s 208 area code is quickly becoming an endangered species.

This isn’t a new story. Back in 2007, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said the state would run out of 208 phone numbers within five years. That’s when number conservation and consolidation kicked in. The amount of phone numbers available expanded when the state changed the way it assigns them.