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What is A2P 10DLC and How It Impacts Your Business

In 2021, all major US carriers — T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon came together to introduce a new set of regulations called A2P 10DLC.  These 10 digit long codes were developed and sanctioned specifically for businesses that rely on bulk text messaging to communicate with their audiences. 

The goal is to provide businesses with a reliable, stable and more secure solution by which they can easily reach their customers and at the same time protect consumers from unsolicited messages. The unsanctioned 10DLC of the past lacked these desirable security standards and as a result, were constantly vulnerable to blocking and throttling. With the new rigorous regulations set in place by carriers, A2P 10DLC are almost immune to the above drawbacks, are more trusted by consumers and have higher throughput rates 

In this article, we’re going to discuss the intricacies, the details, what it is, and more importantly, how it affects your business? 

While A2P 10DLC might seem daunting, rest assured that if you have an SMS marketing partner like Smarter Contact, you wouldn’t have to worry about any of the technicalities or documentation. We handle the entire setup process as well as the bureaucratic processes involved.

Bank to the brass tacks, here’s everything you need to know about A2P 10DLC!

What is A2P 10DLC?

10DLC, also known as 10-digit long code, is a business text messaging service that allows organizations to send business-to-consumer SMS from local phone numbers. Initially, long code messaging was conducted through person-to-person (P2P) carriers designed for family and friends. But through the Application-to-person (A2P) 10DLC solution, businesses can now send high message volume to customers from a designated 10-digit phone number.  

Who Needs A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLCs were designed for businesses that need to send messages to customers either 1-to-1 or in bulk through local long codes (phone numbers). While it is ideal for localized or in-store businesses, you can also use it for:

  • Events, security, and account notifications
  • Customer service interactions
  • Marketing communications 
  • Authentication messages 

How Does A2P 10 DLC Work?

10dlc work

Before you can use A2P messaging, there are two steps that you need to complete:

  1. Brand Registration

As an organization, you must identify who you are. You’ll need to submit general information (brand name and address) and business information such as business type and identity. You’ll give detailed information to the carrier networks you use. 

  1. Campaign Registration

After registering your brand, The Campaign Registry (TCR) gives you a trust score. The score and your campaign type determine your messaging throughput. Also, each campaign must have a messaging use case that represents the kind of text messages you intend to send to customers. Examples of use cases are two-factor authentication code delivery, promotional texts, and fraud alerts. 

However, with an SMS marketing partner like Smarter Contact you wouldn’t have to worry about all this, we handle all the processes for our clients’ A2P 10DLC campaigns from start to finish.

Benefits of A2P 10DLC

  •  Higher Throughput

Before 10DLC A2P SMS messaging, many businesses used unregistered long codes. To reduce spam-like text messages, carriers placed strict filtering on these phone numbers and limited their messaging volume to one SMS per second. 

But with A2P 10DLC, this limitation doesn’t exist. Organizations can send more messages faster. While it doesn’t have the send rates of dedicated short codes, its texting throughput (1 to 60 SMS per second) exceeds that of unregistered traffic and toll-free long codes. 

  •  A Dedicated Line

A2P 10DLC is designed to allow businesses to own a designated line. As such, the negative actions of one brand don’t affect another company unlike in shared short codes. Each company can send all marketing, alerts, and two-factor authentication notices from their registered numbers. What’s more? They can convert their existing numbers to send and receive text messages for 10DLC A2P messaging.

  •  Voice-Enablement

Do you need more than A2P messaging functionality? 10DLC numbers support voice calls as well. There’s no need to use multiple phone numbers for various forms of communication with customers. You can easily message or talk with them from the same number.

Why Use 10DLC In Business Texting?

  •  Text Messaging Volume

As we mentioned earlier, unregistered long codes were meant for person-to-person communication rather than commercial use. But unlike the former options, the 10DLC A2P messaging is strictly for business texting. Organizations can go beyond sending a few hundred messages daily to deliver higher bulk texts. At a rate of 1 to 60 messages per second, you can reach thousands of customers daily. 

  •  Better Accountability

To scale application-to-person messaging, many companies turn to shared short codes. But it has several limitations. For one, when a brand violates the mobile carrier’s guidelines, there’s no clear process to identify the culprit. The likeliest action would be to terminate the shared short codes services and brands (innocent and otherwise) within. 

With 10DLC designated numbers, carriers know exactly which company and what messages violate its terms. That means your business will always be on the safe side if you follow the regulations. 

  •  More Business Opportunities

Currently, companies can handle large A2P messaging traffic quickly and at reasonable costs. This opens up new opportunities to engage customers and close deals. Also, as more businesses adopt it, carriers will make more money. This success may mean more service improvements that would benefit companies. 

How To Get Started With 10DLC

how to get started 10dlc

Setting up your 10DLC messaging and sending messages is no rocket science. However, the process will be much faster if you have an A2P platform like Smarter Contact that can automate the whole process for you. Here’s how to get started: 

  1. Submit Business Information

First, Smarter Contact will help you submit your brand and campaign information to The Campaign Registry (TCR) — an independent agency — for rating. 

  1. Get Your Trust Scores

Next is to obtain your trust score. The TCR rating is based on trust scores that range from 1 to 100. While it may not matter to some networks, other carriers (T-Mobile and AT&T) use this score to determine your throughput per second. The higher the score, the higher your TPS.

  1. Start Messaging

Once you get your score, you’ll need to text-enable your phone number. You can choose an existing phone number for your 10DLC messaging or get a new one with a local area code. Unlike in shared codes, this number is exclusively registered to your brand

After this, you can now send and receive messages in high volumes. Aside from bulk texting, most A2P messaging services allow you to hold 1:1 conversations.

Advantages Of Using A2P 10DLC Messaging

  •  Better Deliverability

A2P 10DLC messaging is thoroughly vetted. Once a company meets the requirements, mobile carriers ( T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) know the brand’s name, phone number, and message. This improves the chances of the SMS passing through spam filters.

  •  More Brand Recognition

Repeatedly reaching customers from a dedicated local area code number fosters trust. They know who is sending the message and what to expect unlike in shared short codes. This may improve your open rates significantly. 

  •  Compliance with Carriers and Regulations

A2P 10DLC allows you to send messages to customers effectively and comply with regulations. Failure to register, your messages will be subject to increased filtering that would severely affect your ability to reach customers. 

Understanding A2P 10DLC Rules and Regulations

We cannot talk about the success of A2P 10DLC numbers without mentioning the rules and regulations that brought order to the chaos.

  •  A2P 10DLC Compliance

To use this service and start sending messages, you must comply with the requirements. As we mentioned in the past sections, these requirements are mainly brand and campaign registration.  

  •  Phone Service Carriers

Popular carrier networks, also known as Tier 1 carriers—have set up terms and conditions for their services. Each provider has its code of conduct which you must adhere to. Also, there are specific fees that vary across carriers. These fees include:

  • One-off brand registration fees
  • A small fee per message 
  • Campaign activation/migration fee
  • Pass through fee
  • Non-compliance fees 

Other regulations include the FCC SMS long codes rules; and the STIR/SHAKEN regulation for calls. 

A2P 10DLC With Smarter Contact

Provisioning your A2P 10DLC number with Smarter Contact takes only a few easy steps. From activation to messaging traffic migration, we offer reliable services that allow businesses to register for 10DLC services. Once your account is ready, you can send millions of text messages faster and at a lower cost. If you need help in setting up 10-digit long codes for your business, talk to our experts today. 


What is the difference between 10DLCs, short codes, and toll-free numbers?

To understand the difference between these A2P messaging, here’s a table with the details and costs compared. 

10dlc versus short codes and toll free numbers

To ensure customers don’t receive unwanted messages, carriers require your brand information and use cases. An independent agency, The Campaign Registry (TCR) will give you a score (from low to high risk) based on that information. A use case that has a high risk could be marketing messages on debt relief. And an example of text messaging with low risk could be authentication alerts. 

  •  What throughput should I expect on A2P 10DLC?

Your throughput depends on the risk of your brand and trust score. Each mobile carrier network has varying throughput for each score level. 

  •  Where do text-enabled toll-free numbers fit into the A2P 10DLC story?

Under the new regulations, companies can text enable or convert an existing toll-free number into an A2P 10DLC so they can reach customers via both calls or SMS.

  •  How long does it take to register A2P 10DLC?

Setting up your A2P 10DLC is faster than short codes . If you have the required information, registration typically takes a few minutes. But if there are discrepancies in your information, a manual review to rectify it may take up to 7 days.

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