Messaging Rates are Increasing in 2021, Here’s Why:
Ben Nebesky
Business Messaging Strategist
Updated: Jun 24, 2021
A2P 10DLC, Messaging Rates are Increasing

In 2021, carriers are increasing their messaging rates in light of the new 10DLC requirements.

Business texting prices are increasing, and we wanted to explain to you why that’s happening.

In recent months, carriers have updated their messaging rates for business messaging and enforced added surcharges to traditional message rates.

In an effort to comply with these surcharge rates, MessageDesk is raising prices for any user who signed up prior to 2021. This price change will allow those accounts to continue sending and receiving text messages without interruption.

Before we go any further you’re probably wondering why things are changing. Well here’s a quick breakdown:

Carrier networks are trying to prevent the number of SPAM messages sent. They are accomplishing this in two ways:

  1. Increasing the entry cost by adding “Surcharge rates” to any high-volume messages sent by non-verified businesses/organizations
  2. Enforcing businesses and organizations to register their SMS Campaigns with carriers in order to earn high throughput rates (number of messages delivered per second)

As a result, all business phone lines are required to comply with the latest 10DLC and A2P messaging rates while traditional “Short Codes” are being phased out completely.

To accomplish this they are requiring “Senders” to get verified before being allowed to send high volume messages from a 10 digit phone number.

This means the carriers are raising prices and creating surcharge penalties for any non-verified accounts that are sending high-volume messaging or non-verified messaging. It also means non-verified senders may see an increased number of messages getting blocked or denied due to SPAM.

So you’re probably wondering if your MessageDesk account is “Verified”. In MessageDesk, you can get verified by registering your phone number for A2P messaging. More on this below.

Read more to find out why these changes are causing messaging rates to increase.

What is 10DLC?

10-digit long codes (10DLC) are becoming the preferred way to send high-volume A2P (Application-to-Person) text messages. They’ve long been the favorite for businesses and organizations but now they’re getting an upgrade.

Of the businesses that text, 65% of them already use 10-digit long codes. That’s because they’re cheaper and more accessible for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations.

What's Changing?

10-digit long codes have long been used as local phone numbers for P2P (person-to-person) text messaging. But the big change is that carriers are now starting to allow these normal phone numbers to send and receive high volumes of A2P text messages.

Certain mobile carriers are now adjusting the number of messages that can be sent per second. They've historically enforced local messaging for business senders while imposing new registration requirements and paying additional fees. But messages in registered campaigns should receive better throughput than the traditional 1 message per second (MPS).

Why and How to Get Verified

The industry has been working for many years to find ways to support the use of local numbers to deliver high-volume messaging traffic to mobile subscribers.

These carriers are also requiring the use of The Campaign Registry in order to capture additional information on A2P message senders and what kind of traffic is being sent to their mobile subscribers.

The Campaign Registry enables SMS messaging service providers to collect information on the type of high-volume messages being sent on their networks.

Do I need to register for A2P?

If you are sending high volumes of messages to your customers on a regular basis, yes you will need to register. Though, if you are simply facilitating 1-on-1 conversations it isn’t necessary at this point in time to register.

If you are unsure about if it is necessary for you to register for A2P, email us.

How to register

To get your organization or “brand” registered, start by logging into your MessageDesk account. Once there, you can navigate to plugins and go into the “A2P 10DLC Brand Registration form.”

If you need more information, check out this learning center article on registering for A2P.

If you aren’t yet signed up for MessageDesk but would like to send high-volume messages, talk to us.

What are the carriers charging?


Verizon has a per-message surcharge for Outbound SMS and MMS. The SMS surcharge is $.00255 and the MMS surcharge is $.0052. There are no additional charges or requirements for registering brands or traffic.


AT&T is looking to impose a class-based system with different surcharge amounts depending on what kind of campaign you are running.

Classes are assigned based on the information gathered in the registration process.

AT&T has selected a company called The Campaign Registry (TCR) as a regulator to run their campaign registries.

AT&T will have a grace period for registration. Starting on March 1, 2021, all outgoing SMS traffic to AT&T will incur a $.002 surcharge and all outgoing MMS traffic will incur a $.0035 surcharge.

This grace period has been extended and we will update once we have a new date.


T-Mobile has given a start date of April 1, 2021, for its surcharges and campaign activation fees. Our current understanding is that T-Mobile plans to mandate the following as part of its “industry-wide policies,” which can be subject to change:

  • 10DLC Campaign Service Activation or Migration: A $50 one-time provisioning fee (pass-through fee for each campaign registered).
  • 10DLC SMS per message surcharge fee: $.003 for Inbound and Outbound SMS beginning on April 1, 2021.
  • 10DLC MMS per message surcharge fee: $.01 for Inbound and Outbound MMS beginning on April 1, 2021.
  • T-Mobile NNID Registration: A $2,000 one-time fee for customers that choose to utilize a custom NNID. Most Bandwidth customers won't need to be concerned with this.

US Cellular

US Cellular is charging per-message surcharges of $0.005 for outbound SMS and $0.01 for outbound MMS. There are no requirements for registering brands or traffic at this time.

As of June 1, 2021, US Cellular is also charging per message surcharges on P2P traffic.

What if I send High-Volume messages and don’t register?

Well, that could be bad news. T-Mobile, for example, has some pretty strict rules when it comes to not registering when you are sending high-volume messages.

  • Text Enablement: There will be a $10,000 fee if T-Mobile receives a complaint that traffic is being sent prior to the program being fully approved.
  • Grey Route: There will be a $10 fee per message if A2P messages are sent over P2P routes.
  • 10DLC Long Code Messaging Program Evasion: There will be a $1,000 fee if a program is found to be using techniques such as snowshoeing, dynamic routing, or unauthorized number replacement.
  • Content Violation: There will be a $10,000 fee for each unique instance of the third or any subsequent notification of content violating the T-Mobile Code of Conduct involving the same content provider. This includes but is not limited to SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco) violations, spam, phishing.
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