THUNDER BAY — Tbaytel is giving its mobility customers plenty of time to get used to the idea of including the 807 area code when dialing local phone numbers.
The practice becomes mandatory on May 31.
For now, calls can still be placed without using the area code, but they won't go through until the customer listens to a recorded message.
"The local number you have dialed must be preceded by its area code. Your call will now proceed."
Tbaytel hadn't expected to implement the advisory until April 1, but communication coordinator Jamie Smith said the timetable was changed.
"As the result of some work with our technical partners, our teams were able to do the necessary work a little more quickly than anticipated, so as a result the 'permissive' messaging has started to go out on Tbaytel mobility lines," Smith said Tuesday.
"This just gives people a little bit more of a reminder that as of that May 31 deadline, 10-digit dialing will be mandatory. Until then, if you don't dial the 807 area code, the call will still go through. You'll just get that reminder."
Smith emphasized that Tbaytel still intends to introduce 10-digit dialing in stages, starting with mobility customers.
The transition won't begin for home phone and business voice customers until sometime this fall, with final implementation for those subscribers not happening until early 2024.
The company has said it decided on a phased-in approach in order to allow time for it to complete a major upgrading of its landline network.
Ten-digit dialing has been made mandatory by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to facilitate the launch of 988, a new national 3-digit number for mental health and suicide prevention.
That service will be inaugurated across the country on Nov. 30, 2023.