As you have probably heard by now from the SMS providers you have accounts with(Twilio, Plivo, Telnyx, etc…), mobile carriers in the US are launching a new 10DLC(10 digit long code) product which is more suited to sending larger volumes of messages over standard 10 digit local numbers. A2P 10DLC refers to a system in the United States that allows businesses to send Application-to-Person (A2P) type messaging via standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers. Carriers in the US consider all traffic to be A2P. Carriers’ A2P 10DLC offerings provide better delivery quality and lower filtering risk than long code SMS of the past, using the same phone numbers.
Verizon implemented their 10DLC product in early 2020 that included a small surcharge added to each SMS sent to a number belonging to Verizon. This surcharge is automatically added to the cost of each SMS sent by the SMS providers such as Twilio, Plivo, Telnyx, etc…The difference is Verizon doesn’t require registering your business/brand and campaign/use case, however AT&T, T-Mobile, and other carriers will if you want to send A2P messages using a standard local long code.
Toll-Free SMS – no changes
It’s important to note that US toll-free numbers are NOT included in this 10DLC rollout and Toll-Free SMS is still a great way to send A2P SMS in the United States as well as Canada. We have recommended for a while now that if you want to send larger volumes of A2P messages such as marketing, reminders, alerts, to use toll-free numbers instead of local long codes. Local long codes were only meant to send P2P(Peer to Peer) type of messages where the conversation is taking place both ways, think of customer support use cases. They are great for that. However many spammers started abusing the use of local long codes and what they were meant for, and blasting out large volumes of messages using them and this led to the change with US carriers introducing a new 10DLC product.
What about short codes?
These changes do not affect dedicated short codes where each business has their own dedicated short code, however US carriers will start prohibiting shared short codes and AT&T will ban them effective June 1, 2021. Shared short codes mean they are short code numbers shared by multiple businesses, so restaurant A shares the same short code as salon B. This is how many SMS marketing services currently operate. You sign up to their service and they provide you a shared short code to use that is also being used by many other businesses. They will also need to adjust to this new change.
What are my options?
- Current local long codes – Use these for low volume 2-way conversational SMS like customer support and any chat like application. Twilio has mentioned they do not expect the increased message filtering to be a problem when sending small volumes of message traffic using local long codes. They remain committed to ensuring this type of traffic remains possible. However, the increased filtering will have a negative impact on delivery of messages for larger business use cases sending higher volumes.
- Toll-Free numbers – If you intend to send A2P messages where the volume of messages is greater and this traffic consists of marketing messages, alerts, reminders, and announcements then toll-free numbers would be great here. You can currently get toll-free numbers with our platform through any of the SMS providers we are integrated with. They provide toll-free numbers for A2P business use cases.
- New 10DLC – If you or your clients want to use standard local long code numbers to send large volumes of A2P traffic, then you would need to use the new 10DLC product by registering your brand/business and campaigns/use cases with the SMS providers you have accounts with. Each SMS provider will have their own instructions for how to do this and have their own tools built into their consoles.
- Dedicated short codes – Each business can still get their own dedicated short through one the SMS providers we are integrated with. There would be a long approval process before getting setup and an average monthly cost of about $500 to lease the dedicate short code through the SMS provider.
Ultimately I see this being a positive change for the industry as a whole as this will help mitigate spamming that has become so prevalent in the market today while also ensuring a higher deliverability of messages with greater throughout. Yes, it will make it a bit more time consuming upfront to setup 10DLC for each client that wants to use local long codes for A2P traffic, however higher speed and greater deliverability rates will make for happier customers.
To learn more about the 10DLC change directly from a few of our integrated SMS providers and many common FAQ about this change, please check out this very detailed resource from Twilio – https://support.twilio.com/hc/en-us/articles/1260800720410-What-is-A2P-10DLC- this one from Plivo – https://support.plivo.com/hc/en-us/articles/360054871572 and this one from Telnyx – https://support.telnyx.com/en/articles/3679260-frequently-asked-questions-about-10dlc