New numbers for Meadow Lake cellphones

By Mac Christie

If the number on your caller ID shows up as 304, it’s not long distance – it’s a new cell phone number for the Meadow Lake area.

SaskTel has been giving out the 304 numbering prefix for a while because there are a limited amount of 240 numbers remaining, said Michelle Englot, SaskTel’s director of corporate communications.

While it’s uncertain how many of the numbers remain because people are always changing their numbers, there were few enough open to require a new number, she added.

Englot noted when a number starts to run low, the Canadian Numbering Association will open up a new block of numbers.

Even though 304 has been available for some time, Gary Colwell, a SaskTel sales representative at Northland Chrysler, said most people still get the familiar 240 number.

But that’s not the only numbering change Meadow Lakers will have to get used to.

The 306 area code is expected to exhaust itself by May 2013, which means Saskatchewan will be getting a new 639 area code.

While it hasn’t been decided how the change will be implemented, there are two ways it could be done. The first would involve dividing the province in half, with one section keeping the 306 number and the other getting the new 639 area code.

The second would involve an overlay system, where all existing numbers would stay the same, and all new numbers would be given the 639 area code.

Englot said while either system has its challenges, SaskTel expects the overlay approach will be taken, which would mean 10-digit dialling throughout the province.

“Fourteen of the past 15 area code changes in Canada have been done with an overlay,” Englot noted.

She believes an overlay system is easier because customers will not have to change their existing numbers.

The Canadian Numbering Association is expected to decide on this in the coming months.

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