The world of text messaging and telecommunications is complex. It couldn’t get any harder to navigate, right?
Wrong. New regulations have changed how businesses and organizations text. Carriers have since begun cracking down on spam text messages and increasing their messaging fees.
So, does your business or organization need to reach people with text messages?
Then you’ll need to know:
By the end, you’ll have everything you need to maintain A2P 10DLC compliance and send texts in bulk. I’ve even included a list of frequently asked A2P 10DLC questions at the end.
Read on for more!
A2P stands for application-to-person messaging. Businesses and organizations use A2P software applications and business text messaging services to send A2P text messages from a computer, automatically to mobile devices. Application-to-person A2P SMS text messages get sent at thousands of messages per second using carrier-vetted SMS gateways. This makes A2P ideal for bulk text messaging.
10DLC stands for 10-digit long code or local phone number. A 10-digit long code 10DLC phone number looks like this: (123) 456-7890. Carriers used to limit 10DLC phone numbers to P2P texting and calling for personal use. But businesses and organizations can now use 10DLC numbers and toll-free numbers for A2P text messaging and bulk SMS sends.
A2P 10DLC allows businesses and organizations to send application-to-person (A2P) SMS and MMS text messages from 10-digit long code phone numbers (10DLC). A2P 10DLC works with local phone numbers and toll-free text-enabled phone numbers. Approval for high-volume A2P 10DLC text messaging requires registering a phone number, brand, and campaign with The Campaign Registry through a business text messaging service.
P2P stands for person-to-person or peer-to-peer texting. This is when two or more people text 1-on-1 or in a group text message from their personal phones using iMessage, Google Messages, or another app. Carriers limit how many person-to-person P2P SMS messages you can send. This is why they’re for personal communication, not bulk text messaging.
Everyone is familiar with 1-on-1 and group text messages sent from smartphones. But these kinds of texts are different from mass texts.
The big difference between A2P and P2P messaging comes down to who’s sending texts and how they’re sending them.
People send P2P text messages manually, one by one. The best peer-to-peer texting platforms are iPhone and Android. But there are also other P2P texting platforms and group text apps, like WhatsApp, Signal, and others.
These P2P apps are different from business text messaging software like MessageDesk. They can’t send A2P text messages automatically in bulk.
The bottom line: you need carrier-approve A2P texting to send text blasts. Peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging is only meant for low-volume personal use.
|P2P SMS||A2P SMS|
|Who/what sends the message||Person (Personal Phone)||Software (Business Text Messaging Service)|
|Messages allowed per second||1||10+|
|Approved for bulk business texting?||🚫||✅|
Short codes used to be the only way for businesses and organizations to send bulk text messages.
But A2P 10DLC and business texting software changed that.
Once you get approval for A2P 10DLC you can send text messages from various business texting services (including MessageDesk) at much higher rates and in higher volumes.
Carriers and messaging providers call this “throughput”. Throughput refers to how fast you can send text messages from an application to a person using business texting software.
How many text messages and how fast you can send them depends on the type of campaign you’re approved for. I list all the details further down in this article.
If your organization has an existing phone number you can also transfer, host, or port the phone number to a new text messaging provider.
Ever wonder why your text messages aren’t getting delivered? Most likely it’s because the carriers are blocking your messages.
A2P 10DLC text messaging fixes that.
Once you’re approved for high-volume sending, you’ll get the best text message delivery rates possible. This is how you optimize engagement, response, and open rates to get the most out of your text message campaigns.
Trust and credibility are important for any brand. And carriers often scrutinize businesses and organizations that send promotional and transactional messages.
So A2P 10DLC lets AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile know that your text messages aren’t spam.
Once you register your phone number and brand for A2P texting you’ll get a Trust Score. These scores let carriers know what kind of messages you’re sending and how fast you can send them.
Check out the CTIA Guidelines, FCC guidelines, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance guide for more specifics on regulations.
I also provide a detailed breakdown of A2P 10DLC Trust Scores further down in this article.
People often prefer two-way texting to one-way texting. This is because two-way texting is conversational and feels more friendly.
So when you want to send out a text blast to mobile users, A2P 10DLC makes sending and receiving messages feel like any other normal, two-way texting experience. You can’t do this with short code text messaging.
This kind of conversational technology allows you to send more personalized messages at scale.
Compared to short code texting, A2P fees with a 10DLC or toll-free SMS number are lower. I’m talking a few hundred dollars per month lower.
Compare that to a few thousand dollars per month for a dedicated SMS short code.
You can check out the detailed A2P 10DLC pricing below.
I’ve covered why A2P 10DLC is important. Now it's time to address how A2P 10DLC registration works.
The first step to getting approved for A2P 10DLC is choosing a business SMS provider.
There are several great business texting services approved for A2P 10DLC, including MessageDesk. These platforms often support high-volume texting on both local 10-digit phone numbers and toll-free numbers.
If you’re looking to get your whole team texting, then you’ll want a service with a shared team SMS inbox.
MessageDesk offers features that suit both these business texting needs.
Your next step is to create a free account. You can do this with MessageDesk by starting a free trial.
You’re also free to meet with one of our messaging experts to learn more about A2P 10DLC Registration.
Next, you’ll need to select a number or use your existing business phone line. MessageDesk gives you a range of options including both local 10DLC SMS numbers and toll-free SMS numbers.
To text from your existing business number or landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).
A2P 10DLC messaging works by registering a phone number and “brand” (your organization) to send campaigns (types of messages) across carrier networks. This registration takes place through The Campaign Registry. Registration through The Campaign Registry for A2P 10DLC has three parts:
The Campaign Registry (TCR) is a third-party hub for vetting application-to-person (A2P) 10-digit long code (10DLC) messaging campaigns. The TCR works with North American mobile operators and companies to register application-to-person (A2P) text messaging campaigns.
Most A2P business texting services (like MessageDesk) are considered campaign service providers (CSPs). This means they have special carrier relationships through platforms like Bandwidth, Twilio, and Vonage.
This also makes SMS A2P approval through The Campaign Registry much easier for your business or organization.
All it takes to get A2P approval on your existing phone number with MessageDesk is one form submission.
To start registering your organization for A2P 10DLC you'll need to provide:
You’ve selected an A2P 10DLC texting service and started the registration process. Your next step is to understand the different A2P 10DLC campaign types.
Below is a table describing standard and special A2P campaign types, their uses, and monthly fees charged to your text messaging service by The Campaign Registry.
|Campaign Type||Use||Campaign Registry Monthly Fee|
|2FA||Any authentication, verification, or one-time passcode||$10|
|Account Notification||Standard notifications for account holders, relating to and being about an account||$10|
|Customer Care||All customer interaction, including customer care and customer support including appointment reminders||$10|
|Delivery Notification||Information about the status of the delivery of a product or service||$10|
|Fraud Alert Messaging||Messaging regarding potential fraudulent activity related to an account||$10|
|Higher Education||Campaigns created on behalf of Colleges and Universities. It also includes School Districts and educational institutions that fall outside of the “free to the consumer” messaging model||$10|
|Low-Volume Mixed||Small throughput, any combination of uses||$2|
|Machine to Machine||Non-human, wireless communication between two or more physical assets||$10|
|Marketing||Any campaign with marketing and/or promotional content||$10|
|Mixed||Any undeclared combination of uses||$10|
|Polling and Voting||Requests for surveys and voting for non-political purposes||$10|
|Public Service Announcement||Any informational message meant to raise an audience’s awareness around an important issue||$10|
|Security Alert||A notification that the security of a system, either hardware or software, has been compromised and action needs to be taken||$10|
|Campaign Type||Use||Campaign Registry Monthly Fee|
|Agents and Franchises||Brands that have multiple agents, franchises, or offices but require individual local phone numbers for each||$30|
|Carrier Exemptions||Exempt campaigns designated by carriers||$10|
|Charity||Messages from a registered charity including 5013C charities, but excluding religious organizations||$3|
|Emergency||Messages promoting public safety and health following a natural disaster, conflict, or any other emergency situation||$5|
|K-12 Education||Messaging for K-12 educational institutions and distance learning centers, but not post-secondary school||$10|
|Political Campaigns||Any messaging intended to influence the decision-making of a specific group, but for pre-vetted Federal campaigns and select organizations only.||$10|
|Proxy||Peer-to-peer, app-based messaging with proxy/pooled numbers||$10|
|Social||Messaging within or between closed communities like influencers’ alerts||$10|
|Sole Proprietor||Sole Proprietors are individuals with a billing address, but without an EIN / Tax ID||$.75|
|Sweepstake||Messaging for or around sweepstakes and contests||$10|
|Platform Free Trial||Free trial messaging||$0|
|UCaaS High-Volume||Unified communications as a service||$10|
|UCaaS Low-Volume||Unified communications as a service||$2|
US A2P Standard Brand registration fee: $4 one-time registration fee.
Note: Starting October 1, 2021, T-Mobile will begin charging a one-time $50 campaign activation fee for each newly registered campaign (not including Starter campaigns).
Since May 1, 2021, Twilio has been passing on AT&T's carrier fees to our customers. AT&T set these fees to a discounted rate of $0.002 per outbound SMS segment and $0.0035 per outbound MMS.
As of March 1, 2022, AT&T has increased the cost of unregistered traffic.
AT&T ultimately plans to implement a detailed fee table with fees varying by Campaign type, however, the launch date for AT&T's full fee table (shown below) is still TBD.
Fees effective for all long code messages to AT&T as of March 1st, 2022:
Fees effective for long code messages to AT&T after the transition period ends (date TBD):
|Campaign use case type||AT&T long code outbound SMS carrier fee (per segment)||AT&T long code outbound MMS carrier fee|
|Single-use, non-marketing use case||$0.002||$0.0035|
|Mixed or Marketing Use Case||$0.003||$0.0035|
|Special use cases||Varies||Varies|
|Basic / Unregistered||$0.004||$0.005|
As of March 1, 2022, T-Mobile has increased per-message fees for unregistered long code messaging to T-Mobile (including. Sprint) users.
Fees effective for all long code messages to T-Mobile as of March 1, 2022:
Verizon introduced the following A2P 10DLC fees in January 2019. They haven’t announced any plans to change their fee structure since these fees were introduced.
Fees for all long code messages to Verizon Wireless, since January 2019:
When you complete your US A2P Brand registration, your Brand will receive a Trust Score from 0 to 100. This rating influences the maximum message throughput that will be allocated to each of your Campaign use cases.
When you complete the registration of your Brand and Campaign(s) for A2P Messaging through the Salesmsg, that information is sent from Salesmsg to The Campaign Registry (TCR), a third party at the center of this new registration system.
|Trust Score||Total Messages Per Day||Total Messages Per Second (MPS)||AT&T Messages Per Second (MPS)||T-Mobile Messages Per Second (MPS)||Verizon Messages Per Second (MPS)|
|86 – 100||10000+||180||60||60||60|
|66 – 85||5000+||30||10||10||10|
|26 – 65||3000+||3||1||1||1|
|15 – 25
(Low Volume Mixed Campaign)
|1000+||2.2||0.2 (12 segments per minute)**||1||1|
Carriers are afraid of spam. They don’t want their customers to receive unwanted, dangerous, or malicious text messages.
So carriers ask for detailed information about your organization and its SMS uses before approving your brand for high-volume text messaging.
After you submit your brand information, an independent agency assigns you a trust score based on the kinds of messages you’ll be sending. Messages are marked as low or high risk.
A “low-risk” messaging campaign may be something like two-factor authentication. A high-risk use case may be sending messages about debt relief.
Trust Scores are grouped into four levels, from lowest to highest. Your Trust Score level, combined with your Campaign Type, will determine the message throughput that’s allocated to your campaign use case.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions related to A2P 10DLC and The Campaign Registry.
There’s no need to buy a new 10-digit long code phone number. In most cases, you can enable an existing business phone number for use with A2P 10DLC.
Yes, you can set up a new 10DLC phone number or text-enable, port, or host any existing phone number for use with an A2P 10DLC campaign.
Unregistered A2P messaging may result in carrier bans and severe fines of up to $10 per text message. Decreased message delivery rates and fees will apply to organizations that send texts without A2P 10DLC registration.
At a future date, unregistered text messaging in the US via 10-digit long code numbers may not be supported.
No A2P 10DLC doesn’t affect Canadian messaging. Canadian mobile carriers may introduce A2P 10DLC registration solutions in the future. At this time carriers haven’t announced any plans to do so.
You can complete A2P 10DLC registration in a few minutes if you've collected all of the required information.
To register a US-based business or organization for A2P 10DLC you’ll need:
Note: If your Tax ID (EIN) does not exactly match your business name listed on your registration, may not be approved. It should appear exactly as it does on your taxes which could include an LLC or Inc. at the end of your legal business name. If there’s a discrepancy in the information you provide, a manual review may be required for Secondary Vetting. This can take up to 7 days.
MMS text messaging is subject to carrier fees as part of A2P 10DLC. Long code photo texting also remains subject to throughput limits, due to limited carrier capacity. A short code is still the best option for ultra-high-volume MMS in the United States.
Messaging throughput (MPS) depends on the type of Campaign you get approval for through The Campaign Registry. For many, A2P 10DLC offers much higher throughput than the traditional 1 message per-second for long code text messaging.
A2P 10DLC doesn’t affect US toll-free phone numbers. Toll-Free SMS is still a great way to send A2P SMS in the United States as well as Canada.
Shared short code phone numbers will be banned as brands transition to A2P 10DLC. The exception to this policy is a shared short code used to send 2-factor authentication (2FA) messages or OTP codes. “Shared short codes” refers to short code numbers that are shared between multiple brands.
MessageDesk offers smarter, simpler ways to send bulk text messages using carrier-vetted A2P SMS channels.
We’re here to get your business or organization set up with a 10DLC or toll-free SMS number to start more conversations.
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