The 416 area code immediately lets people know you’re from Toronto and right now, according to Metro News, people are willing to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to nab a number with the area code.
In particular, businesses want the 416 area code to ensure they appear established to customers, instead of newer numbers with the 647 and 437 area code.
Georgio Pappas is a 416 phone number broker who searches for creative numbers throughout the city assigned to various wireless carriers. Once he acquires numbers, he’ll continue to make minimum payments to hold onto the number until he finds buyers, then transfers them over.
He says the minimum rate to purchase a 416 number is $99, but some of his previous sales have been up to $2,000 for one number, as businesses desire the city’s oldest area code which launched in 1947:
“They feel that a 647 number makes them feel like they’re not established. Let’s say you need a lawyer. If you call a 647 number, how credible is that lawyer, how many years has he been in business for?”
Glen Brown from the Canadian Numbering Association, is in charge of assigning numbers to carriers. He notes 416 numbers are no longer being handed out, but there are 2,010,000 647 area code numbers left to be assigned.
As for 437 numbers, only 260,000 have been assigned since March 2013. Brown says “It’s conceivable you could get a 416 number; it’s probably difficult.” The project manager also noted the last batch of 416 numbers were assigned to wireless carriers was back in 2006.
According to Telus spokesperson Chris Gerritsen, “People don’t give up their numbers as often as they used to because of porting,” which means 416 numbers only free up for customers when they have been reassigned.
Gerritsen says customers still call and ask to get a 416 number, but he says they are only able to accommodate if one is available, which isn’t very often.
Would you ever pay for a 416 area code? I guess it’s the equivalent of having a 604 phone number in Vancouver or 250 in Victoria.