Area codes 402 and 531
In 1954, area code 402 was split. Eastern Nebraska retained 402, and area code 308 was assigned to western Nebraska. The overall roughly diagonal dividing line runs from the southeast between Hastings and Minden north into the northern part of the state and then west towards the eastern edge of the Sandhills in the northwest of the state.
The state's two largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln, are closely located in eastern Nebraska. In comparable circumstances in Kansas, where the largest cities, Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City are also in the eastern part of the state, a north-south split was implemented placing Wichita in one area code, and Topeka and Kansas City in another. However, in Nebraska an east-west split was implemented in which Omaha and Lincoln retained 402, while Grand Island, then the state's third-largest city, was placed in 308.
Omaha and Lincoln are not only home to most of Nebraska's landlines, but also to most of its cell phones and pagers. As a result, area code 402 was nearly exhausted by the end of the 1990s. It was originally projected to be exhausted in 2001, but number pooling was implemented to stave off exhaustion. In 2009, however, NeuStar projected that 402 would be exhausted in 2010.
In March 2011, area code 531 was implemented as an overlay to area code 402. Although the first central prefix in 531 was not assigned until February 2013, ten-digit dialing has been mandatory across the entire 402 territory since the spring of 2011.
Major cities served
|Nebraska area codes: 308, 402|
|West: 308||Area codes 402/531||East: 712, 660|
|Iowa area codes: 319, 515, 563, 641, 712|
|Kansas area codes: 316, 620, 785, 913|
|Missouri area codes: 314, 417, 573, 636, 660, 816|
|South Dakota area codes: 605|