Maine's regulators want to know whether T-Mobile is unnecessarily tying up dwindling 207 area code phone numbers.
In this Oct. 13, 2020, file photo, a man wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus while using his phone on a rainy day in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine regulators want to know if T-Mobile is unnecessarily tying up phone numbers from the dwindling 207 pool.

That comes as the latest forecast shows Maine’s iconic 207 area code could be completely exhausted by the end of 2025. That would leave regulators little choice but to split the state into two area codes.

With the 207 pool shrinking year after year, regulators have been monitoring carriers’ numbering practices and forecasts to conserve the remaining phone numbers, according to the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The commission wants T-Mobile to supply it with information detailing how it uses its existing pool of numbers and forecasts its expected growth. The request comes after a review of T-Mobile’s requests for fresh 207 phone numbers dating from January 2021 to April of this year.

“This case is part of our ongoing effort to extend the life of Maine’s single 207 area code,” Chair Philip Bartlett said Wednesday.  “Last year we opened a case to look into the numbering practices of Verizon Wireless and we are now doing the same with T-Mobile as they may also be using unrealistic forecasting goals, unnecessarily tying up available phone numbers.”

The utilities commission launched a similar probe last August into Verizon’s numbering practices and forecasts. That investigation, which closed in December, into Verizon’s “particularly aggressive” forecasting prompted the carrier to revise its forecast, attributing the larger demand for 207 phone numbers to be an “error.”

Just days after that probe launched, Maine’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking it to work with Maine to avoid the “disruption” of rending the state into two area codes.