10DLC Messaging

Everything Your Business Needs to Know

What is 10DLC?

10DLC, or 10-digit long code, is a channel created by mobile carriers for business-to-consumer (A2P) messaging over local landline phone numbers. There’s a good chance you’ve already been using one of these numbers for business texting, but until recently, they were only intended for person-to-person (P2P) SMS traffic between family and friends.

Because texting over local landline phone numbers has grown increasingly popular over the past few years, U.S. carriers want to make sure it stays that way – a channel customers can trust, that’s free of spam and unsolicited communications.  

To accomplish that goal, carriers have together adopted a set of standards and registration processes for 10DLC numbers to better understand who is using 10DLC for A2P and what  they’re sending across the network. 

A2P stands for application-to-person, so A2P messaging is any message sent from an application, such as Zipwhip, to an individual. A2P texting can be used for everything from appointment and billing reminders to promotional messages like sales and restock alerts. With A2P messaging, businesses can employ automation tools such as message scheduling, auto replies, text templates and more.

How does 10DLC impact business messaging?

All businesses that send A2P messages on a 10DLC phone number are required by U.S. mobile carriers to register their brand with a chosen third-party partner. Businesses are then vetted and given a “trust score” that determines their daily message throughput. In addition to protecting consumers, controlling message quotas in this way allows the carriers to increase message speed and offer businesses better deliverability.

If a business decides not to register their brand and continues using their 10DLC phone number, they will eventually experience disruption of service. Certain carriers will stop supporting SMS traffic from 10DLC numbers that are unregistered, meaning messages to customers on that carrier will fail and the sender will receive an error message. 

What are the benefits of 10DLC?

Text from a recognized local area code

A cost-effective solution

Improved deliverability and throughput

A regulated channel protected from spam

Text and call on the same phone number

Already using 10DLC?

If you’re a Zipwhip customer with access to the Admin Console and haven’t yet registered your business, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible to avoid disruption of service.

Start using 10DLC today

We’ve made it easy to set up 10DLC on your existing business number. Choose from a range of flexible business texting plans including full-featured software and API solutions.

Other Options for A2P Messaging

10DLC is only one of three options for A2P messaging.  Let’s take a look at the benefits and disadvantages of other options available. 

Toll-free

A toll-free phone number is one that begins with a toll-free code, such as 800 or 855, and can be dialed free of charge. These numbers have become a popular choice for A2P messaging because many businesses already use them for voice calls and they can be immediately text enabled, giving customers the ability to text and call the same phone number. They have added branding opportunity because they can be customized (855-ZIPWHIP), making them easy for customers to remember.

Toll-free texting is also two-way, which means customers can respond to a text or initiate a conversation, just like they would with friends and family on their cell phone’s texting app. Because it allows for high-volume messaging, toll-free texting is a popular choice for businesses sending programmatic text messages like two-factor authentication, appointment/billing reminders and alerts.

Short codes

An SMS short code is a 5 or 6-digit phone number that is often used to send bulk texts to customers. Short codes work well for businesses that want to send millions of messages a day, but there are several drawbacks. First, short codes can create a frustrating experience for consumers who are used to being able to call the same number they text, similar to how they communicate with family and friends. They can also be very expensive, anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 a month, and take months to be approved.

Frequently Asked Questions

All U.S. carriers are in the process of adopting 10DLC including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile/Sprint and US Cellular.

All businesses using 10DLC numbers to send messages to customers serviced by U.S. mobile carriers will need to register.

Yes. This is a universal change for all business texting providers.

No. Toll-free numbers and short codes are regulated differently and are not subject to these regulations.

In short, carriers want to be sure that their customers will not receive unwanted, dangerous, and spam-like text messages. An independent agency will assign your business a trust score based on whether your use case is low or high risk. A “low-risk” use case may be something like two-factor authentication. A high-risk use case may be sending messages about debt relief.