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10DLC: Everything You Need to Know About 10-Digit Long Codes

Jan 28, 2021

In October 2018, AT&T announced that they would stop activating new shared short code numbers for A2P (Application to Person) SMS campaigns. Additionally, they would stop supporting existing shared short codes at a future time. That time has arrived: 10DLC (10-digit long code) will soon replace shared short codes for text marketing campaigns.

In response to issues with shared short codes, telecom carriers have elected to stop using them almost entirely. Not only has AT&T done away with shared short code SMS numbers, but mobile carriers like T-Mobile have also followed suit. Other carriers will not be far behind.

What does this mean to your business? In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about moving from shared short codes to 10DLC:

What Is a 10DLC?

10DLC stands for 10-digit long code. A 10DLC number is a 10-digit local phone number that businesses and organizations can use to send high volumes of text messages for marketing campaigns and other communications. 

Adopting 10DLC SMS technology solves several problems caused by shared short code marketing while providing improved deliverability, protection for legitimate marketing use, and enhanced consumer trust.

Why Are Shared Short Codes Being Eliminated? 

Shared short codes were popular due to their speed, volume capacity and low cost. However, they have their shortcomings. 

Spam & Phishing Prevention

While spam rates for email dwarf spam rates for texts, spam and phishing texts are still a source of aggravation and concern for consumers. Spam delivered via shared short code texts is difficult to halt. Since hundreds or even thousands of businesses can share a single short code, spammers can be hard to track down. Additionally, if a keyword is used in a spam text, the chances are good that the legitimate keyword traffic you share with a spammer will be blocked.

Better Customer Experience

When shared short code users violate guidelines by misusing keywords, customers suffer for it. In addition to a poor customer experience, the opt-in/opt-out process can be difficult or impossible to manage.

New Technology Creates New Opportunities

Before 10DLC, marketers had a “good-better-best” decision to make:

  • Long code SMS: Good (cheap but slow, not designed for bulk messaging)
  • Shared short code SMS: Better (cheap and fast, but risky)
  • Dedicated short code SMS: Best (fast but prohibitively expensive)

10DLC SMS bridged the gap between the three, blending long-code SMS affordability with the speed and value of dedicated short code for A2P usage. While there will be exceptions to the short code ban, they will be few and far between. Businesses will be required to show substantial proof of why their use case should be exempted.

8 Benefits of Moving to 10DLC SMS

Still not convinced? Here are eight benefits of moving to 10-digit long codes.

1. Higher Message Volume

10DLC numbers can support SMS message volumes somewhere between toll-free long codes and dedicated short codes, offering a “happy medium” solution.

2. Cost Savings 

10DLC numbers will cost about the same as a long code number (generally between $1 and $2), offering significant cost savings over dedicated short code numbers. 

3. Easy Conversion from Existing Landlines

Businesses can convert their existing landline numbers to 10DLC numbers easily. This will enable your business to retain a number your customers recognize with additional 10DLC SMS capabilities.

4. Improved Deliverability and Compliance

Did you know that “regular” long code numbers were designed for person-to-person communication and are not sanctioned for mass texting purposes? Carriers use software techniques and firewalls to block texts from unsanctioned long codes, blocking those out of CTIA compliance. Since 10DLC is approved for SMS messaging, successful deliverability by carriers is improved.

5. Local Number Recognition

Using a local number for your A2P 10DLC messaging offers increased recognition and engagement over “impersonal” short code and toll-free numbers.

6. Higher Throughput

While long code SMS messages were cheaper, they were also slower. The send rate of one per second was too slow for large text marketing campaigns. 10DLC SMS offers a much higher throughput than standard long code numbers, estimated to be approximately 100 per second.

7. Easier Campaign Tracking

One of the known advantages of short codes was their superior ability to track marketing campaigns. Each dedicated number and/or keyword could be assigned to a specific campaign, making campaign monitoring a breeze. 10DLC SMS offers this same ease and convenience.

8. Voice-Enabled

But wait, there’s more! In addition to using your 10DLC number for SMS texting, you can make phone calls on it as well. Giving your customers a choice between voice and text offers increased flexibility and convenience.

Are There Alternatives to 10DLC?

In a word, yes — but each comes with its own challenges.

  • Dedicated short codes will still be available but may be out of reach for most SMBs. While they remain the speediest choice (for now) and offer high volume messaging, the cost and moving process to a dedicated short code remain significant obstacles. Prices for dedicated short codes typically run between $1,000 per month for a random number to $1,500 for a vanity number. If you are interested in a dedicated short code, Textedly offers both random and vanity short codes.
  • Text-enabled toll-free numbers are also an option but come with an important caveat: While toll-free numbers are free for consumers to call, they are not free to text. Standard message rates apply to consumers’ individual data plans with their mobile carriers. Text-enabled toll-free numbers can only send a few thousand messages per day and have the added disadvantage of appearing impersonal or even spammy. These factors thwart the customer engagement that marketers strive for. 

Make the 10DLC Shift With Textedly

“I’m using a shared short code — now what?”

If you’re currently using shared short codes for your A2P marketing campaigns, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of moving to an alternative platform. 

What’s non-negotiable is that you will have to make a decision sooner rather than later. If you continue to use your shared short code, your delivery rates will begin to decline as carriers start blocking shared short code traffic in the months ahead.

If you use Textedly and wish to move to 10DLC, we are here to make the process as easy as possible for you. 

First, you will have to register with the Campaign Registry. The Campaign Registry is an independent third-party organization that mobile carriers are using for companies to register their campaigns. If you are an existing Textedly customer, you can directly access the Campaign Registry from your Textedly dashboard. 

Note: The Campaign Registry charges a small independent fee for business and campaigns. The one-time fee to register your organization is $4, and the ongoing cost to register text message campaigns is $10/month per campaign. 

Need help? For more information on 10DLC SMS and what it means to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d be happy to go over this important information with you.

We will update this article with more information as details continue to develop.