How to move P2P long codes and shared short codes to 10DLC – on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T

Your guide to using the new commercial long code for SMS and MMS communications

OpenMarket – October 8, 2020

It’s been a long time coming, but the A2P 10DLC era is finally upon us.

Verizon has been accepting 10DLC traffic on its network for months already, and the other carriers are joining them now too. AT&T and T-Mobile are in soft launch, and we expect Sprint to be live very soon.

As part of its soft launch, T-Mobile will not be charging messaging fees until March 1st, 2021. AT&T will also not be charging messaging fees during their soft launch, but the date they will begin to charge is yet to be determined.

(This blog post was published in 2019 and updated on October 08, 2020)

Verizon and the other major US carriers are likely to restrict the use of shared short codes, which are seen as a spam risk. Once all the major US carriers – Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T – have launched their 10DLC services, a lot of shared short-code traffic will need to be migrated over to 10DLC or dedicated short codes.

(We talk about the various situations in which businesses might be allowed to use shared short codes later in this post.)

Need help or advice on 10DLC or shared short codes? Get in touch here.

Short codes, and moving to 10DLC (ten digit long codes)

If your business has been relying on P2P long codes (which were only ever designed for person-to-person use) or shared short codes, you should review your messaging options.

What are your US business messaging options in 2020?

In 2020, businesses that want to communicate with customers via SMS in the US will effectively have three options to choose from:

1 Dedicated short codes
The monthly costs are steeper than long codes, but dedicated short codes enjoy higher carrier support, and higher potential throughput – 1,000 messages a second and more – for time-sensitive communications to large audiences. Dedicated short codes also give you access to delivery receipts, so you know which messages have been delivered.

2 A2P 10DLC
10DLC will have lower monthly costs than dedicated short codes. And they will be much faster and more simple to provision. 10DLC has far higher messaging throughput than P2P long code traffic, and better reliability and stability. However, mobile operators won’t support delivery receipts on 10DLC.

3 Text-enabled toll-free (TETF) numbers
This is a service that allows businesses to “text enable” existing toll-free phone numbers, so they have one number customers can either text or call them on. These TETF numbers have a high throughput (though not quite as high as short codes) and are secure and approved for business use.

In summary, 10DLC and TETF are messaging options for businesses that want to start messaging quickly and easily without the higher cost sometimes associated with short codes.

But short codes will remain the preferred routes for brands that want to send time-sensitive communications to very large audiences.

This online tool can help you choose which business messaging number is right for you.

10DLC vetting requirements

The US carriers have announced their different approaches to 10DLC throughput and vetting. For the full story, check out our What are 10DLC trust scores? blog post 

An example of a use likely to be judged as low risk would be two-factor authorization (2FA). That’s because consumers have asked for this traffic, they respond to it, and it’s safe and necessary.

On the other end of the scale will be promotional marketing campaigns, as there’s a potential for these campaigns to be sent to consumers who may not have been opted into the campaign correctly.

Businesses that can demonstrate the quality of their traffic will enjoy optimum throughput and timely delivery of messages from all carriers.

The end of P2P long codes and shared short codes for A2P messaging

Mobile operators will use firewalls and other software techniques to rid their routes of traffic from unsanctioned long code and shared short codes that don’t meet their qualifying criteria.

There might a be a few exceptions for same-vertical shared codes, but these will be on a case-by-case basis – with an in-depth carrier review before approval.

Your next steps

Look for a mobile messaging provider that makes the migration and sign-up process for 10DLC as simple as possible.

In summary, businesses should work with providers that allow them to easily:

– Look for and purchase 10DLC numbers
– Configure them for use
– View the status of campaigns and see which 10DLCs are assigned to them
– View a summary of all the owned 10DLC numbers and their status

Check out our 10DLC provisioning solution here.

10DLC help and advice

At OpenMarket, we’re here to help our customers and partners pivot and move forward as these changes take effect. We’re also here to help smooth out any migrations from shared short codes. We provide the tools, solutions, strategic advice and network access you need, while leveraging our close relationships with all the major US carriers to represent the interests of businesses.

If you need any help or advice, just drop us a line here. Or if you’re an existing customer or partner get in touch with your account manager any time.

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