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Texting 101

Everything to know about 10 DLC, 10-digit long codes, and why you should be using them

Nina Godlewski
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Those who use business texting have likely heard talk of 10-digit long codes and The Campaign Registry lately. Changes have been made to the telecommunications space to help protect individuals from spam, robocalls, and any type of messaging that they might not have agreed to.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC is a 10-digit long code and it is the new standard long code for application-to-person, or A2P, texting in the North America region.

The difference between a normal 10-digit phone number and an A2P-10DLC is that these numbers are designed to be used for application-based business messaging. The 10DLC numbers were introduced as “a sanctioned service that provides visibility into message sources and content and offers new benefits to message senders.”

What is a short code? 

Before 10DLC became the new standard for business SMS, many businesses opted to use short codes for their messaging. These are four, five, or six-digit codes for texting that have high throughput rates. But the catch is that they can cost upwards of $1,000 per month. They were specifically built for marketing and promotional one-way text messaging but companies are moving away from that and towards two-way, conversational messaging.

Why do 10DLC numbers exist, what’s the benefit of using one?

Like we mentioned, 10DLC numbers are meant to help protect those on the receiving end of business text messaging by verifying the senders and preventing access to spammers, making it better for businesses to text.

Some of the benefits of using a 10DLC are:

  • Higher throughput rates for texting: Before The Campaign Registry SMS users on P2P-10DLC were able to send about one message per second. After registering, the message volume should be higher.
  • Lower cost: While more expensive than P2P-10DLC, that is no longer available.  A2P-10DLC messaging will be less expensive than short-codes and their message rates which can cost quite a bit.
  • Improved deliverability: If you’re registered with TCR you are essentially pre-screened to send messages which can help improve your deliverability. Fewer messages and senders will be flagged if you’re registered with TCR. 
  • Marketing messages: With 10DLC numbers, you can market via SMS, something previously only allowed on short codes.

Who should be using a 10 DLC number:

Really any business using business SMS for application-to-person texting should be using a 10DLC to do so. We’ll cover the list of qualifications that might signal to you that you should be using a 10DLC.

Use cases for using 10DLC numbers

If your business messaging falls under these use cases you need an A2P-10DLC, a toll-free number, or a short code. Of course, using a 10DLC number is not limited to these use cases but they were some examples for you to follow.

Sending automated confirmation texts: If you send automated confirmation texts after a customer places an order, makes an appointment, or any other timed text trigger you know you sometimes need to text a lot of people at once. You’ll need a 10DLC for this and you’ll need to be registered with TCR.

Sending a promotional text message: If you send promotional text messages you also need to have a 10DLC number and be registered with TCR. These messages go out to a lot of people and thus would benefit from the high throughput rate, the preauthorization with registration, and the improved deliverability.

Sending mass alert text messages: Businesses sometimes need to be able to message employees, patrons, or students to let them know about an unexpected change. Take the example of a closure due to a storm, you can use business texting to let hundreds or thousands of people know about closures quickly.

Following up with customers: You can use texting to automatically send a follow up to customers with who you interacted within a certain time frame. If you have a certain number of customers contact your customer service you can set a text to automatically send to them asking how their service was.

Responding to customers: If you’re using business texting, it should be a form of two-way communication between you and your customers. That means your customers should be able to text you when they have a question, need customer support, or have an update to share with you.

How to register with The Campaign Registry

In order to register with TCR you’ll need some specific information about your business. They’ll need information like your specific business name, your tax ID number, and more. We’ve compiled a list of forms and information to have on hand when registering:

  • Legal company name, or  “Doing Business As” (DBA) or brand name (if different from legal name). It should match the name on your tax returns.
  • Country of registration
  • Business entity
  • Tax Number/ID/EIN
  • Full address
  • Website
  • Stock Symbol (required if a publicly-traded company)


What is The Campaign Registry?

The Campaign Registry was formed by the Mobile Network Operators to help companies adhere to new telecommunication laws aimed at making communication safer and more secure. To learn more about The Campaign Registry read our article: The Campaign Registry explained: How to register, forms you need, FAQs

Do I have to register with The Campaign Registry?

If you’re a business and you text customers ever, you need to register with The Campaign Registry. This will help TCR verify your business and be sure that you have a valid reason to be texting. It will also allow you to send your messages more quickly. Learn more about how to register here.

What do 10 DLC numbers have to do with The Campaign Registry?

“10DLC is an A2P messaging channel in which Brands and Campaign Service Providers (CSPs) are verified prior to being allowed to send message,” according to TCR. Using your business 10DLC number you can be sure your business is cleared to message customers. A 10DLC number is seen as more secure for your application to person messaging.

What are the deadlines?

Businesses that are messaging will need to be registered by September 2021.

What’s the difference between a short code and a 10DLC?

Both 10DLC and short-code numbers can be used for sending and receiving messages with customers but 10DLC allows for voice capability as well, and it allows for speedier transmission.

“10DLC is a reliable messaging channel with throughput levels suitable for SMS campaigns which is sanctioned by the mobile operators for A2P messaging,” according to TCR. Short codes on the other hand are four, five, or six-digit codes for texting campaigns issued by the Common Short Code Administration or the CSCA.

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