Hold the phone — another new area code?

Just four years after a third prefix was introduced to Alberta, the province is getting a fourth. The CRTC announced Wednesday that starting April 9, 2016, new telephone numbers anywhere in the province may be preceded by 825.

The Canadian Numbering Administrator, which regulates area codes, says the current 403, 780 and 587 prefixes will run out of numbers by July 2016.

The change will bring Alberta up to the rank of B.C., which also has four area codes. Most other provinces have one or two area codes, while Ontario has 13 and Quebec 10.

The growth of area codes mirrors the exploding popularity of cellphones and Alberta's exploding population. Prior to 1999, when Alberta had fewer than three million people, the province was served entirely by 403.

In January 1999, the new 780 area code was applied to the top half of the province. In September 2008, 587 was introduced and 10-digit local dialing became mandatory.

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta's population is now more than four million.