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Indiana: History | Northern (219, 260, 269) Central (317, 463, 765) Southern (812, 930)

Northern Indiana

Northern Indiana (formerly NPA 219) is divided into three area codes (NPAs) and four Local Access Transport Areas (LATAs).
Area codes 574 and 260 were placed in service on January 15th, 2002. Permissive dialing ended June 14th, 2002.

Area code 219 was placed in service in 1948 as the first area code split in the North America Numbering Plan. This split was the result of AT&T's initial assignment of area code 317 to the entire northern and central parts of Indiana. At that time area codes were not in common use and AT&T had assigned the code based on their use to reach the exchanges they served.

As of April 2013 a new area code is not expected to be needed in the 219 area until spring of 2033.
A new area code is not expected to be needed in the 260 area code until winter of 2039.
And a new area code is not expected to be needed in the 574 area code until winter of 2044.

The map below shows the division between the LATAs and NPAs.

Calls within each LATA (except local calls) are carried by an "Intra-LATA" carrier (intra is within). Calls to another LATA are carried by an "Inter-LATA" carrier (inter is between). To identify their Intra-LATA carrier, customers may call 1+NPA+700-4141 (substituting their NPA for "NPA"). To identify their Inter-LATA carrier customers may call 1-700-555-4141.

Each exchange area is connected to a "tandem" for connection to other exchanges and the long distance networks. There are several tandem locations across northern Indiana. The tandems are grouped together to form each LATA. The large size of the South Bend LATA comes from all of the United Telephone local exchanges in the area being connected to the same tandem in Plymouth, Indiana.

South Bend LATA
The largest LATA in northern Indiana is the South Bend LATA with portions of the LATA in each of the three northern Indiana area codes. Tandems in the South Bend LATA are located in South Bend, Elkhart, Portage and Plymouth.

The 2002 219 Area Code Split

The decision to split the 219 area code three ways was made by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on June 14th, 2001. The plan was modified on October 17th, 2001. Due to their ties to Michigan City and to keep LaPorte County in one NPA, LaPorte, Hanna, Rolling Prairie, Union Mills and Westville were moved from the new 574 area code to 219. Cromwell and Ligonier were moved to the 260 area code to keep Noble County in one NPA. The decision on which area kept the 219 area code was decided in a lottery held July 11th, 2001.

The industry's recommendation for relief was an overlay, allowing customers in northern Indiana to keep their existing numbers but forcing all calls to be placed as 10 or 11 digit dialing. The Office of Utility Consumer Council (OUCC) recommended a two-way split. The IURC, disappointed with the 2001 estimated life of the 317/765 split (in 2001 predicted to last five and seven years, respectively) chose the three way split expected to last 20 years.
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Due to changes in how exchanges were assigned and other conservation measures, the short life of 317 has been extended to 20 years and the life of 765 is now expected to be 30 years. In northern Indiana 219 is expected to last 31 years, 260 is expected to last 37 years and 574 is expected to last 42 years.

The IURC's decision to split 219 instead of using an overlay allowed 7 digit local dialing to continue within the 219 and new 260 and 574 area codes, with local calls across area code boundries dialed as 10 digits and only long distance calls dialed as 11 digits. Most dialing has not changed.

Commentary: Sometimes things work out for the best. While the decision to assign which area got which code by lottery helped avoid the political debate over which area deserved to keep the 219 area code, the placement of the three codes ended up fitting in nicely with other area codes. The July 2002 split of area code 616 in Michigan placed area code 269 along the northern Indiana border. Most of the border with 269 is served by the 574 area code. The potential for confusion between 219 vs 269 and 260 vs 269 numbers is reduced by the reduction of the common border. As divided, the new 219 area code will have the shorter life (31 years from 2002) - however this area has been using the 219 area code since 1948 ... so when there is a change it will be the area's first change in 85 years (if the predictions hold true).

Chicago IL (Hammond) LATA
The Chicago IL LATA includes a portion of the 219 area code and serves the northwest corner of Indiana.
Tandems in the Chicago IL (Hammond) LATA are located in Gary, Crown Point and Hebron.

Auburn-Huntington (Fort Wayne) LATA
The Fort Wayne LATA includes the majority of the 260 area code plus one exchange in the 574 area code.
The tandem for the Auburn-Huntington (Fort Wayne) LATA is located in Fort Wayne.

West Wabash
The Wabash Mutual Telephone Company is a small co-op providing incumbent telephone service to one rate center in Ohio (419-942). In 2001 there was an Indiana exchange (765-944) assigned to "West Wabash" (also seen in 1997 as 317-944). The separate exchange has been given up and customers in "West Wabash" are now assigned Ohio 419-942 numbers, despite their location in Indiana.

Indianapolis LATA - 574
The Indianapolis LATA includes a portion of the 574 area code and serves most of central Indiana.
The tandem for this portion of the Indianapolis LATA is located in Logansport. (Twelve Mile is served from the Kokomo Tandem.)

Written / Compiled for
Telecom Indiana