Move Over 615 Area Code: Nashville Needs More Phone Numbers

Nashville - like many cities with a dominant area code - has come to be known by the three digits.

Nashville – like many cities with a dominant area code – has come to be known by the three digits.

Nashville is running out of phone numbers. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority began the process to add another area code in Middle Tennessee.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator has notified state agencies that there will be no more 615 numbers left by early 2015.

Population growth is driving the scarcity. But so is the number of phones per capita, says David Foster, Tennessee’s chief of utilities.

“Suddenly a household – instead of one number – has five or six or seven telephone numbers in use.”

There are two options under consideration. One would give Nashville a variety of area codes, requiring residents to dial all 10 digits to make a local call.

The other possibility would essentially let Metro Nashville keep the 615 area code and force outlying areas to change their numbers.

The newest area code in the state is 731, added in 2002 for parts of West Tennessee. The 931 area code in Middle Tennessee was added in 1997. What is now the Memphis area code – 901 – was the state’s first, introduced in 1947.

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority is asking for feedback on the potential split through an online survey.

Currently, Tennessee has no "overlay" areas, where multiple area codes are used in the same place. Credit: NANPA

Currently, Tennessee has no “overlay” areas, where multiple area codes are used in the same place. Credit: NANPA

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