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Beginning Oct. 24, 2021, all local calls in Montana must be dialed with the 406 area code to connect.

Montana’s 406 area code currently allows seven-digit dialing to complete local calls. That will change this month due to a Federal Communications Commission order designating 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Some seven-digit phone numbers in Montana’s 406 area code begin with 988. To prevent misdialing the 988 Lifeline, all local calls in Montana must be dialed with the area code beginning Oct. 24.

The 10-digit dialing requirement applies to all area codes that use 988 as a working prefix, including 83 area codes across 37 states. Calls that are currently considered local for billing purposes will continue to be billed as local calls.

Existing seven-digit phone numbers will not change, but will require the 406 area code to connect. Three-digit dialing services, like the 911 emergency number, will continue to work as a three-digit number with no need to dial an area code.

Along with manually dialed calls, all services that use automated dialing will need to be updated to include 10-digit phone numbers, including contact lists on mobile phones. Fire alarm systems, security systems, life-saving systems, medical monitoring devices, call forward settings will need also to be updated. Users of these systems should contact their service provider to ensure their devices are ready for 10-digit dialing.

The 988 number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be available beginning July 16, 2022. Prior to that date, customers may continue to use 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline for suicide prevention and emergency mental health counseling.

The Commission works to ensure Montanans receive safe and reliable service from regulated public utilities while paying reasonable rates. The Commission regulates private investor-owned natural gas, electric, telephone, water, and sewer companies, certain motor carriers, and natural gas pipeline safety and intrastate railroad safety. For more information, visit psc.mt.gov or contact the Commission at 1-800-646-6150.

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