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Area code 404 covers Atlanta, Georgia and its closest-in suburbs, roughly within Interstate 285. It is an enclave area code, in that it is completely surrounded by area code 770, which serves most of Atlanta's suburbs.
It was one of the original area codes established in 1947, and originally covered the entire state of Georgia. On July 1, 1954, area code 912 was assigned to southern and central Georgia. Area code 404 was retained for the northern half of the state, from the Tennessee and North Carolina borders as far south as Columbus and Augusta.
Despite Atlanta's explosive growth in the 1970s and 1980s, 404 remained unchanged for 38 years. However, by the end of the 1980s, it was obvious northern Georgia needed another area code. The supply of numbers was further limited because the old 404 included portions of three LATAs that spilled into Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Atlanta LATA extends some distance into Alabama, the Augusta LATA spills into South Carolina, and the far northern portion of the old 404 territory was part of the Chattanooga LATA. On May 3, 1992, area code 706 was created for most of the state north and east of metro Atlanta.
When 706 went into service, residents of several Atlanta exurbs complained about no longer being identified with 404. BellSouth (now part of AT&T Inc.) brought them back soon after the split. The 404/706 boundary was redrawn in a way that left Columbus and its surrounding area cut off from the rest of 706, making 706 one of the few area codes that is not contiguous. However, 404 was still close to exhaustion even after the creation of 706. The Georgia Public Service Commission had already planned to assign 770 to Atlanta's suburbs later in the decade. However, the decision to return the Atlanta exurbs to 404 forced the GPSC to shift nearly all of Atlanta's suburban ring to 770 on August 1, 1995—sooner than originally planned.
The 404/770 boundary roughly follows Interstate 285, popularly known as "the Perimeter." Generally, 404 is Atlanta itself and most suburbs inside the Perimeter, while most of the area outside the Perimeter use 770. For some time after the 770 split, 404 continued to be used for all cellphones in metro Atlanta.
On January 1, 1998, area code 678 was overlaid onto 404 and 770, with the FCC requiring 10-digit dialing throughout metro Atlanta. Because the FCC would not allow an area code to apply only to cellphones, new mobile numbers were assigned to 678 or 770 in addition to 404. On September 2, 2001, area code 470 was overlaid on top of the 404, 770, and 678 area codes. Once phone numbers in the 678 area code are exhausted, phone numbers in the 470 area code will be assigned. Also potentially leading to misdialed calls is that it ends in "70" just like 770, and can easily be mistaken in the south metro area for adjacent area code 478. The number was chosen by the Georgia Public Service Commission and approved by NANPA, as were the previous splits and overlays for new area codes in the state.
High-capacity telephone numbers, such as for contest lines for radio stations, are assigned prefix 741. When 770 was split, these numbers continued to work as both 404-741-xxxx and as 770-741-xxxx, so that only seven-digit dialing was necessary. This lasted until 678 came into use. There are also other prefixes which are not assigned to just one exchange, such as 499 and 528 used by Cobb county government and formerly SPSU. These were completely moved into 770.
The entire metro Atlanta calling area (404, 770, 678, 470 and parts of 706/762) is a local calling area, meaning that no long-distance charges are applied for calls from one part of the region to the other. Since the 1980s, it has been the world's largest toll-free calling zone.
All are shared with 770.
American Dad episode, Killer Vacation briefly mentions 404 in a class for making hip-hop necklaces.
|Georgia area codes: 229, 404, 470, 478, 678, 706, 762, 770, 912|
|West: 770/678||area code 404; entire region overlaid by 470/678'||East: 770/678|