Investigates: Dialing down 904 area code with 324 on call waiting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Action News Jax investigation found we are quickly running out of 904 area code phone numbers. Northeast Florida is on pace to run out of prefixes by the summer of 2024.


Up until now, it was unclear when next year our area would run out of the area code synonymous with the region and welcome in a new numeric neighbor 324.

“I’m just used to 904. It’s been with me for quite some time,” Jacksonville resident Elaine Fernandez told Action News Jax Ben Becker. “It’s coursing through your veins?” asked Becker. “Yeah exactly.”

Action News Jax first reported in June 2023 about the addition of 324 coming in 2024.

The Florida Public Service Commission says the new area code is needed because of the growing number of people moving to Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker and Clay Counties.

Telephone numbers are governed by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator. The agency tells Becker there are 330,000 904 pre-fixes remaining - mostly among three carriers Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. While it might seem like a lot, it’s not.

Becker found out firsthand that Xfinity Mobile is virtually out of 904 numbers when he tried to change a number on his account.

So why does an area code matter? It’s more than just a number.

“You ever watch Seinfeld,” Becker asked Fernandez. “Oh, my goodness yes,” she said.

Becker showed Elaine from Jacksonville, a TV clip of Elaine from Seinfeld.

The character Elaine was turned down for a date because she didn’t have the prestigious 212 New York area code.

It was also part of a storyline in the HBO show Sex And The City with Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw.

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“Why do you think people are so attached to their area codes?” Becker asked Dr. Tracy Packiam-Alloway who is a professor of Psychology at the University of North Florida. “I think there’s a sense of community, a sense of belonging.”

She said research shows a new area code can change someone’s perception of you.

“It is a way to indicate that you are not a local, that you’re not part of the existing community. You’re joining the community. And that itself creates a different narrative for the person that they may not wish for that story to be told,” said Packiam-Alloway.

Today, you can even go on eBay and buy 904 sim cards from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 thousand depending on how memorable the numbers are.

“What’s your message to these people making area code decisions?” Becker asked Fernandez. “Think twice; you are making it more challenging for us.”

The new area code also means you will have to use ten digits when you make a call. That includes the area code plus the seven-digit phone number. So, you better get started on updating your contacts.

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