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Decades ago, all the way back in 1947, the Canadian of province of Manitoba, along with the other nine provinces that existed at the time and all the contiguous United States were assigned area codes to make using their still new telephones easier and more efficient for the residents and businesses of North America. At that time three digits – 204 – were designated for phone numbers in Manitoba.


However, the demands on the phone system in Manitoba have increased considerably over the last six decades or so. This growth meant that a new area code was needed to supplement the original one, and in 2012 the 431-area code was introduced.


Why Do Area Codes ‘Run Out’?


On the face of it an area code is nothing more than a three-digit number that someone, somewhere randomly created. It does not actually have a physical element so how could it possibly ‘run out’, or become exhausted to use the proper industry term?


It’s actually rather simple and little to do with the area code itself. In any ten-digit number – the mandated format for North America – the three digits following an area code are called NXX numbers and they are assigned to smaller geographic areas within the regions covered by the area code. The phone systems can only handle a certain number of these, so when they are all given out the area code is considered exhausted and a new one must be overlaid in to ‘help’.


Why do these NXX codes run out? Because the demand for additional phone numbers in relatively small areas has increased so significantly.  In addition to perhaps a residential landline it’s almost becoming the norm for every household member in every home to own a with its own number and it’s not unusual for even small businesses to offer more than one number, as well as a fax number, for their clients and customers to contact them. Factor in all the ATMS and POS digital payment systems that also need to be assigned their own phone numbers and it becomes easier to see why available numbers and area codes are exhausted in a relatively short time period.


The Coverage Provided by Area Code 431


Because it is a relatively new area code the geographical region covered by the 431-area code is still, in comparison to area code 204 at least, still small. It currently is assigned to all the following areas:


  • Beausejour
  • Brandon
  • Bissett
  • Carberry
  • Carman
  • Churchill
  • Clear Lake
  • Cromer
  • Cross Lake
  • Darlingford
  • Deloraine
  • Easterville
  • Gillam
  • Gimli
  • Grand Marias
  • Grand Beach
  • Killarney
  • Lac du Bonnet
  • Morden
  • Oxford House
  • Steinbach
  • Stonewall
  • The Pas
  • Winnipeg


Even though the area code 431 is a small one compared to others it covers some interesting and diverse towns, cities and villages. Here’s a look at just a few of them.


  • Winnipeg – The vast majority of phone numbers in use in Winnipeg, which is the capital city of the province, are still making use of the original 204 area code with which it has been associated for almost 70 years now. However, a handful of NXX numbers have created new 431 exchanges and there are more to come.


The majority of these new numbers are being assigned to businesses and cellphones. As these are new business numbers a 431-area coded number in Winnipeg can indicate that a business is new, something that some may find to be of an advantage if they are in say, the tech or entertainment industries, which are thriving in Winnipeg, and want to be considered ‘cutting edge’.


  • Grand Marais and Grand Beach – Back in the 1920s, following the European trend, it became fashionable and accepted for middle class families to begin to follow the lead of their wealthier neighbours and begin taking beach holidays and day trips. For the people of Winnipeg and the surrounding urban areas the gorgeous Grand Beach, which is located at the south corner of the town of Grand Marais, became a very popular choice.


Grand Beach does indeed offer everything you could ask for from a beach. Golden sand, rolling sand dunes, clear waters and a boardwalk running along it all. Now a part of the Grand Beach Provincial Park it still attracts thousands of visitors every year. Having been assigned the new area code has allowed the businesses that operate along Grand Beach, and in the town of Grand Marais, to develop something of their own identity, a boon in the tourism industry for sure.


  • The Pas – The Pas is a small, but rather famous town that is known as “The Gateway to the North”. Relying heavily on agriculture and forestry to maintain its economy to this day the town is also at the forefront of the conservation movement in Manitoba.


The reason that most Canadians are familiar with the name The Pas, even if they have never been there, is because it is the setting for a book that standard reading for Canadian high school students, Lost in the Barrens by Fawley Mowatt. It’s a story that highlights the history of trapping in the town.


In fact, The Pas is so associated with trapping that it plays host to the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival, Manitoba’s oldest festival and Canada’s oldest winter festival, featuring exhibition trapping, sledding, dog races and more. The addition of the 431 area code has allowed the town to begin carving out a new communications identity, helpful in the promotion of their still growing tourism industry.


Why Area Codes Still Matter


These days, with so many phone numbers in use by so many different devices and for so many different reasons you might think that area codes are no longer very important. The fact is though, especially for a business, they may be more important than ever before.


Business branding is more than a buzzword, it’s a must, even for the smallest businesses. And a business’ brand begins with the basics, including the phones numbers associated with it.


Since they were introduced people have been able to use area codes as a quick and easy way to determine where a residence or business is located. And, people do tend to prefer to deal locally whenever they can, so if a business shares their area code, or one nearby, it can be a great trust builder. This means that an area code is still an important part of any business’ overall brand.


Work Globally, Represent Locally


One of the advances that the advent of Internet based, cloud based telephone technology has brought with it – and it is one of many – is the ability to choose a phone number with a 431-area code without actually establishing a physical office there. This allows you to make local connections, and build local trust, in specific geographical areas from literally miles and miles away.


What Internet Based Phone Systems Have to Offer


Choosing your own phone numbers, and your own area codes, is just one of the advantages that an Internet based phone system has to offer over a traditional PBX system offered by your local phone company.


Having the ability to choose your own area codes is far from the only advantage that a cloud based telephone system has to offer over a more traditional PBX – Private Branch Exchange – system. These include all the following:


  • Quick Deployment – Who really wants to go through the expense and hassle of having a new business phone system installed, or even an extra phone line come to that? In the past, it has involved multiple calls to phone company, settling for a set feature package and rate, being assigned a random number and then waiting for days for techs to arrive to install it all, with a tangle of new wiring, new jacks and more.


An Internet based, cloud communications system is very different. After building your own, highly customizable package, with extra features like auto attendants and IVR systems is you need them, it usually takes no more than a few hours to get up and going, with everything being programmed remotely and efficiently, no physical technician required.


  • Affordable Features – If you were to call your local phone company and inquire about adding the functions that 21st century callers are looking for when they call a business – the ability to solve simple issues via auto attendant, the ability to complete simple transactions out of business hours and more – the prices you’d be quoted might make your toes curl. With a Digital Voice, cloud based systems many of these features are built in, and those that are not can be added at minimal monthly cost.


  • Build Your Own System – Every business has unique needs when it comes to a telephone system. And over time those needs inevitably change. Making use of a cloud based system allows you to build your business telephone system your way, and then add to it whenever needed in a matter of hours at most, not days or weeks.


  • Save Money – What business does not like the idea of saving money whenever and wherever they can? Not only is Digital Voice calling usually much cheaper than traditional calling over telephone wires it is every bit as reliable and offers crystal clear sound quality, making it even more of a bargain.


Interested in saving money, adding efficiency, improving customer service and building your business’ brand with an Internet based cloud phone system that is linked to phone numbers with a 431-area code? Then we can help. Making the switch is easy and the set-up time is minimal. You do have to act fast though, as as you now know, no area code is available forever. Give us a call or contact us now to get started.