Area code 816

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Area code 816 is a telephone area code in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for Kansas City, St. Joseph, and all or part of 15 surrounding counties in northwestern Missouri. The numbering plan area originally covered most of the northern and western two-thirds of the state, bordering with Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, but has been reduced so that it only serves a ribbon bordering Kansas. 816 is one of the original 86 area codes created by AT&T and the Bell System in 1947.


When the North American Numbering Plan was created in 1947, Missouri was divided into two numbering plan areas (NPAs). Area code 816 served points north and west of Columbia and Jefferson City, while area code 314 served the eastern third of the state, including Jefferson City and St. Louis. A third NPA, area code 417, was created for southwestern Missouri, including the cities of Branson, Joplin, and Springfield. This reduced 816 to the northern third of Missouri, including the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Despite rapid growth in the Kansas City area during the second half of the 20th century, 816 retained its 1951 boundaries for 45 years. However, by late 1996, the proliferation of cell phones, especially in the Kansas City area, and other market reforms related to deregulation by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, required that northern Missouri receive an additional area code. The supply of telephone numbers was further limited because the Kansas City LATA extends some distance into eastern Kansas, meaning that several numbers in area code 913, which served the entire northern half of Kansas at the time (including the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro), were not available for use.

In early 1997, the Missouri Public Service Commission, which oversees telecommunications in the state, held hearings regarding a possible split of the area code. The original recommendation of the Missouri PSC was to assign a new area code, 660, to the eastern and northwestern portions of the 816 territory, to cause the least disruption.[1] Generally, St. Joseph and metropolitan Kansas City were left in 816. Two notable exceptions were Lexington and Warrensburg, which were included in 660 even though they are generally considered as part of the Kansas City area.

On June 4, 1997, the Missouri PSC announced that 660 would begin its split on October 12, 1997. On that date, a permissive dialing period began during which long-distance calls to the 660 territory could be completed using either 816 or 660. On April 19, 1998, 660 became mandatory for all calls in the affected area.[2]

In 2000, the Missouri PSC announced plans to create an overlay plan for the numbering plan area by adding the area code 975. However, the subsequent implementation of number pooling eliminated the immediate need for additional telephone numbers and the commission postponed the May 5, 2002 implementation date indefinitely.[3] Despite Kansas City's continued growth, the Kansas City area managed to retain 816 as a standalone area for over 20 additional years. By 2021, it was clear that it was going to exhaust by 2023.[4] As a result, the overlay with area code 975 will take effect on October 13, 2023.[5]

Prior to October 2021, area code 816 had telephone numbers assigned for the central office code 988. In 2020, 988 was designated nationwide as a dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which created a conflict for exchanges that permit seven-digit dialing. This area code was therefore scheduled to transition to ten-digit dialing by October 24, 2021.[6]

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  1. ^ PSC to hold local public hearings in 816 area code issue
  2. ^ Commission approves technical committee recommendation on permissive dialing period for new area code
  3. ^
  4. ^[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ "Area Code 975 - Details, official location, official service date, history and time zone".
  6. ^ "Transition to 10-digit dialing (for 988 as 3-digit access to National Suicide Prevention Hotline)" (PDF). North American Numbering Plan Administrator. January 8, 2021. Retrieved March 9, 2021.

External links[edit]

Missouri area codes: 314/557, 417, 573, 636, 660, 816
North: 660
West: 785, 913 area code 816 East: 660
South: 660
Kansas area codes: 316, 620, 785, 913

Coordinates: 39°12′N 94°24′W / 39.2°N 94.4°W / 39.2; -94.4