639 to be Sask.'s 2nd area code
10-digit dialing for local calls is coming, too
It looks like the second area code Saskatchewan will be getting in two years will be 639 — but people who are already using 306 won't have to switch.
SaskTel had said previously that because the province was growing, it was running out of 306 numbers and would need a new area code in a few years.
According to planning documents, the new code is supposed to come into use in May, 2013.
Originally, 474 was being looked at as the new code, but SaskTel decided it wanted 639, company spokesman Andy Tate said.
"We picked out 639 as one that we proposed for Saskatchewan," Tate said. "One nice thing is that it's divisible by three, so it's like 306 in that way —maybe a little bit easier to remember."
On the other hand, four is considered an unlucky number in many Asian cultures, Tate said.
"It's important to keep in mind other cultures and people are going to be using this number every day, so why not pick one that is unlikely to have negative connotations," he said.
In addition to picking a new number, SaskTel and an agency involved in the change, the Canadian Numbering Administrator, have also grappled with the question of who should get the new number.
One option is to split the province into north and south.
Under that plan, everybody in Saskatoon, North Battleford and Prince Albert would get one number and everybody in Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current Weyburn and Yorkton would get another.
The advantage would be that people could continue to make local calls with seven-digit numbers, as is the current practice.
The downside would be that half the province would have to give up 306, possible resulting in some unhappy customers.
Instead, SaskTel wants everybody who already has 306 to keep that area code, with new customers getting the code 639.
The problem with that proposal is that starting in May, 2013, all local calls would have to be 10-digit numbers.
Final plans are still being worked out, with a submission to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission expected in the next few months.