The Telecommunications Alliance has announced that starting July 29, 2012, residents of Manitoba will be required to dial 10 digits - the area code followed by the seven-digit phone number- for all local calls.

The introduction of 10-digit dialing is the result of a decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and will pave the way for the addition of a new area code, 431, in November 2012, as the 204 area code reaches capacity.

Customers with area code 204 numbers will retain their numbers. Numbers with the new 431 area code will only be assigned to customers for additional services on an as needed basis starting in November 2012.

Introducing a new area code does not affect local calling areas in any way. Adding a new area code to a calling region requires changes in local dialing habits. Since the same phone number can now exist in both area codes, 10-digit local dialing - the area code followed by the seven-digit phone number - becomes mandatory in order for local calls to be connected and reach their appropriate destinations.

The industry trade group says the increase in demand for new telephone numbers comes from the increased use of cell phones, wireless data services, the Internet and IP telephony among consumers and businesses alike.

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