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North American area code 602 is a state of Arizona telephone area code that covers most of the city of Phoenix. It was one of the original area codes established in October 1947 and had originally covered the entire state of Arizona until 1995, when area code 520 was created as the state's second area code. While Arizona's explosive growth during the second half of the 20th century would have made a split necessary in any event, it was hastened by the demand for telephone lines created by the proliferation of fax machines, cell phones and dial-up Internet connections. Many states introduced new area codes during this time period for much the same reason. Generally, greater Phoenix retained 602, except for a few outer portions of Maricopa County that switched to 520.
Within only three years, however, 602 was close to exhaustion once again. It was ultimately decided that the Valley of the Sun needed multiple area codes. On April 1, 1999, 602 was reduced to its current size in a three-way split. On the east side everything from about 56th Street eastward including the East Valley, the town of Paradise Valley (which goes as far west as 32nd St) as well as the city north of Union Hills and east of the 2000 E Grid became Area Code 480. Most of the West Valley and the city west of 39th Ave north of Indian School to west of 63rd Ave from I-10 south, along with the city from North of Union Hills and west of the 2000 E Grid, became Area code 623.
This split resulted in Phoenix becoming one of the few major cities in the nation that is split between multiple area codes. Only two cities ended with multiple area codes with this change. Most areas of Phoenix stayed in 602, but a few areas (such as the Ahwatukee neighborhood) were in either 480 or 623. The area code divider between 602 and 623 was drawn in such a way that in some neighborhoods, homes only a few hundred feet away from each other may have different area codes. Glendale's northern half has the area code divider running diagonally through its middle.
|Arizona area codes: 480, 520, 602, 623, 928|
|West: 623||area code 602||East: 480|
|South: 480, 520|