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Weekday mornings on Michigan Radio, Doug Tribou hosts NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to news radio program in the country.

Detroit may soon get an additional area code

Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy
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Detroit skyline

Detroit might be getting a new area code soon. The Michigan Public Service Commission said it's expecting to run out of unassigned 313 telephone numbers by the end of 2025.

That means most of the possible telephone numbers with 313 are already in use.

The state regulators will be holding a public hearing in Detroit in March to get public comment on the new proposed additional area code, 679.

The proposal calls for an "overlay." That means, unlike past geographic splits, no one will have to change an existing 313 number.

The new area code will cover metro Detroit and its surrounding suburbs.

It’ll require local 313 users to dial 679 to make local calls with folks who have the new area code. Right now, local users do not have to dial an area code to get in touch with another local user.

The 313 area code covers Detroit, its enclaves Hamtramck and Highland Park, and the suburbs of Allen Park, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, the Grosse Pointes, Inkster, Lincoln Park, Redford Township, River Rouge and Taylor.

“The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), the agency responsible for administering telephone numbering plans in the United States, Canada and multiple Caribbean countries, filed a petition with the MPSC in November seeking to implement the 679 overlay,” regulators said in a press release.

The public hearing is set for March 9, 2023, 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. at Wayne County Community College District’s downtown campus, in the Frank Hayden Community Room #236, 1001 W. Fort St. in Detroit.

More on 313 history and pride

For more on the proposal and the history of the 313 area code, Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou talked to Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan.

Doug Tribou: Paul, the 313 area code was in the first group of 86 area codes introduced in the U.S. [in 1947]. Tell us a bit about that history and some of the other big area code changes Southeast Michigan has seen over the years.

Paul Egan: It used to be all of southeast Michigan, really sort of one-third of the Lower Peninsula. And basically what they've done since then has not been overlays as they're going to do here, but splits. They split off 810 in 1993. In 1997, 734 came along in the Ann Arbor area, 586, which we associate with Macomb County, was 2001, and it was actually a split off of 810.

There's been a number of these over the years, and this overlay was actually first approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission back around 2000, 2001. But what happened is, for a number of reasons, the 313 numbers didn't run out quite as quickly as anticipated, so it's kind of been on hold until just now.

DT: Well, the whole area code mindset is really interesting to me, Paul. People get really attached to them. I used to live in Maine. The whole state is area code 207, and they're working to keep it that way. They're trying to hold off even a second area code anywhere within the state. I still have a Massachusetts cell phone number and people hang on to those cell phone numbers. It's a sort of a way of signaling like, ‘Oh, I'm originally from there.’

And in Detroit, 313, you see it on bumper stickers and t-shirts. Some people celebrate on March 13, 313 Day. What do you think it is about this sort of identity people have with their area codes?

"I'm not sure there's any place that strongly identifies with an area code as much as Detroit and 313. I mean, you see people with 313 tattooed on their arms sometimes."
Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press reporter

PE: That's part of what I find really interesting about this story. Like in Los Angeles, 310 is kind of a highly in-demand area code. It's not the original L.A. area code. It's sort of more the Beverly Hills-Hollywood one where it's got some prestige associated with it. There was a Seinfeld episode where [one of the sitcom's main characters] Elaine got rejected by a guy because of her 646 [New York City] area code, and she kind of baked a plan to get a 212 number back.

But, you know, I'm not sure there's any place that strongly identifies with an area code as much as Detroit and 313. I mean, you see people with 313 tattooed on their arms sometimes. There's really quite a strong connection there.

DT: This is still in the proposal stage, Paul. The Michigan Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in Detroit on March 9. People can also submit comments to the commission. But this, as you say, is something that's been in the works for quite a long time.

PT: Yeah. Obviously I'm not going to prejudge anything - it'll be handled by an administrative law judge - but, I think a lot of this is pro forma. It's hard to anticipate an outcome where this doesn't get approved.

Editor's note: This is a partial transcript of the interview with Paul Egan. You can listen to the full conversation at the top of this page.

Further reading: "Michigan is running out of 313 phone numbers, wants to add 679 area code to Detroit area" by Paul Egan for the Detroit Free Press

Briana Rice is a reporter/producer operating out of Detroit.
Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Radio staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Lauren Talley is Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition producer. She produces and edits studio interviews and feature stories, and helps manage the “Mornings in Michigan” series. Lauren also serves as the lead substitute host for Morning Edition.