Southern Minnesota phones may need a new area code as soon as 2025 as available phone numbers using 507 are running out, regulators say.
In a filing to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator says the 507 area “is in need of relief.”
NANPA proposes two paths forward: an overlay, in which a new code is assigned to the same geographic area as 507, or a geographic split.
In the first method, existing customers would keep their current 507 numbers. Once 507 numbers are exhausted, numbers with the new code would be issued. This method would necessitate 10 digit dialing for all local calls.
Alternatively, the 507 area would be split in two, with one half retaining the current coke and the other getting a new one. One half would include the areas west of the split, such as Gaylord, Jackson, Le Sueur, Luverne, Mankato, New Ulm and Worthington. The other would encompass Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester, Waseca, Winona and other communities east of the split.
NANPA said that the overlay is “the most consumer friendly method of relief, allowing all existing customers to retain their current telephone numbers and avoid having to contact friends, family and business associates to advise of a number change.”
A geographic split like the one proposed hasn’t happened since 2007, according to the filing and would be “much more difficult to implement due to changing technologies.
The 507 area code has been used since 1954 and was the first area code to be added to the state after the original 218 and 612 codes.
NANPA has asked the MPUC to make a decision by May 31st, 2023.