DC's 202 Area Code Is Running Out of Phone Numbers

Planners already know what D.C.'s second area code will be. But it's a secret for now


If you have a D.C. phone number, you may want to hold on to it.

Phone numbers with the 202 area code are expected to run out as early as 2023, according to the company that administers area codes nationally.

There are roughly 360,000 phone numbers left that start with 202, according to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, which is based in Herndon, Virginia. WAMU 88.5 was first to report the shortage.

Area code administrators know that residents feel strongly about their phone numbers, NANPA Director Beth Sprague said.

"People have a big affinity with their area code," she said.

The District's area code has been in service for more than 70 years, since January 1947.

Administrators have a second area code picked out for D.C. But it's still a secret.

"It's not something we discuss with anyone," Sprague said.

Planners make sure that new area codes are not similar to those nearby. If you have an idea for what it should be, don't hold your breath. Public influence does not play a role in the selection of a new area code, Sprague said.

The new area code will be announced a year or two before it is first used.

"It's not like 202 is going away. This is just so that there's a supply for the next area code," Sprague said.

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