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New Idaho area code launch means contact chaos for cellphone users

Starting Saturday Idahoans will have to enter an area code to call other people in the state when a new area code is launched statewide.

“It’s because of an influx of people,” Francisco Ibarra, assistant manager of Lend Me An Ear said.

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.

Idaho has had a 208 code since 1947.

State regulators implemented a 16-month plan for the second code after learning that the 208 area code would run out of available numbers by mid-2018.

Ibarra said that people with cellphones will have to update their contacts with the area code if it is not already saved.

“Go through and start changing them, if you want your calls to work, your people to be contacted,” Ibarra said.

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