A2P 10DLC - Everything You Need to Know!

Everything you need to know about A2P 10DLC, to help you stay compliant and continue to engage your customers through SMS and MMS.

A2P 10DLC - Everything You Need to Know!

A2P 10 DLC is upon us, and that’s good news

Follow me here. Nearly 49 million consumers opted-in to receive texts from brands as of late 2020. 82% of those consumers opened every single message they received. 

Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than email, phone, or Facebook, with 90% of messages being read in just three minutes. Clearly, SMS marketing is an obvious win for any brand wanting to connect with its customers.

But within this massive market, customers need safety and protection from unscrupulous marketers or scammers.

That’s where A2P 10 DLC comes in — one of the biggest changes in the industry’s history in the last decade.

In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this update, what it means for you, and what to do about it.

What is A2P 10 DLC?

Short for Application-to-Person 10-Digit Long Code, this is a system designed for business messaging where companies use local 10-digit long code phone numbers. 

Sounds technical, I know. But a 10 DLC number is really just a standard 10-digit phone number that helps support the high-volume messaging output that many businesses need these days. 

And it offers some key benefits for B2Bs. “Carriers’ A2P 10 DLC offerings provide better delivery quality and lower filtering risk than long code SMS of the past, using the same phone numbers,” Twilio A2P explains

There are two main purposes behind A2P 10 DLC. 

One is to create a higher level of trust and transparency between businesses and their customers. 

Companies register their brand with The Campaign Registry, letting them know who they are and what they’re sending through SMS. In turn, this helps protect users from spam, which is critical given texting spam complaints have increased 1.3x over the past year.

The other purpose is to accommodate the high volume messaging needs of modern companies. 

Up until this point, US long codes have been designed for person-to-person (P2P) communications, which are only capable of low volume messaging. But with this new system, businesses should be able to send far more. 

So, if you’re looking to scale and crank up your throughput, A2P 10 DLC is just the ticket. 

What do I need to do?

If you do not send any messages to users in the United States using long code numbers, you do not need to do anything.

If you send messages to the US, but you always send fewer than 3,000 messages per day to the US using 5 or fewer long code phone numbers you would need to register for a starter package. If you are an existing Salesmsg customer, we took care of that for you already.

If you send more than 3,000 messages per day or use more than 5 long code numbers for messaging to the US, you must complete the registration for a Standard package. If you are a Salemsg user, you can complete the A2P 10DLC registration in your Salesmsg account settings.

How does A2P 10DLC work?

There are two important requirements under the new A2P 10DLC system:

  1. Businesses must identify who they are to the carrier networks (Brand registration).
  2. Businesses must register what type of messages they are sending, i.e. notifications (Campaign registration). 

As a Salesmsg user, registration is done entirely through your Salesmsg account. We have integrated with The Campaign Registry (TCR) to meet the requirements of carriers while making it easy for businesses to onboard. 

Do I need to register? If so, what’s the deadline?

As of August 2, 2021, there is a deadline for completing registration before October 1, 2021. This requirement applies to all businesses sending more than 3,000 messages per day to the US, or who use more than 5 long code numbers for messaging to the US (regardless of message volume).

Dates and deadlines for business registration

September 30, 2021:

Registration deadline for customers using long code messaging in the US.

October 1, 2021:

There is a heightened risk of increased per-message carrier fees, as well as additional filtering for unregistered traffic, which could cause delivery failures.

AT&T's Campaign-based fee schedule goes into effect for messages to users on AT&T's network.  The per-message fees associated with unregistered SMS and MMS to AT&T increase. AT&T fees will vary from $0.002 to $0.004 per outbound SMS segment and $0.0035 to $0.005 per outbound MMS depending on your use case.

After the transition period ends, AT&T will increase filtering (blocking) of non-registered 10-digit long code traffic sent to users on their network.

What happens if I don't register?

If your message volume requires you to register (see the thresholds described above) and you have not completed registration by October 1, 2021, your message traffic may be subject to heavier carrier filtering. Increased per-message carrier fees may apply to unregistered traffic after this date.

How does US A2P Brand registration work? 

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 (see below).

What is a Trust Score, and how does it affect me?

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 3rd party at the center of this new registration system.

How do Trust Scores influence message throughput?

Trust Scores are grouped into three levels, from lowest to highest. Your Trust Score level, combined with your Campaign Type, will determine the message throughput that is allocated to your campaign use case.

Mixed / Marketing Use Cases: Message Throughput

Mixed / Marketing use cases can be registered for customers who want to send messages for multiple use cases from the same set of numbers, or for marketing. Different throughput levels are allocated for Mixed / Marketing use cases than for Declared use cases.

Please note, in addition to the "Mixed / Marketing" use case, there is a separate Campaign use case designated as "Low Volume Mixed" – this option has a lower monthly fee than a standard Campaign but is fixed at the lowest throughput tier below, regardless of your Trust Score (0.2 MPS to AT&T; 2.2 MPS total).

Trust ScoreTotal SMS MPS toward major US networks*AT&T SMS MPST-Mobile SMS MPSVerizon SMS MPS
86 – 100180606060
66 – 8530101010
26 – 653111
15 – 25 (or Low Volume Mixed Campaign)2.2**0.2 (12 segments per minute)**11

What’s a campaign use case?

This represents a messaging use case, for example, sending account notifications or conducting marketing. In carrier terminology, these are called "Campaigns." For more specificity, Salesmsg is calling them campaign use cases.

Do I need to buy new phone numbers to use this A2P 10DLC service?

If you are already using long code numbers, there is no need to buy new numbers. You will enable your existing numbers to use the new A2P 10DLC service by following the registration process.

What information is required for registration?

In order to register businesses, brands, and use cases, you will need information about each business and brand. The required info includes the business name, physical address, business type (LLC, partnership, etc.).

For customers sending fewer than 3,000 SMS message segments and MMS a day to the United States, you do not do anything since Salesmsg already has all your required information.

What pricing and fees are associated with the A2P 10DLC service?

For an overview of registration costs and per-message carrier fees associated with A2P 10DLC, please see below

Registration Fees

US A2P Starter Brand registration fee: $0

US A2P Standard Brand registration fee: $4 one-time registration fee – increasing to $44 on August 21st

A2P campaign use case registration fees:

Campaign use case typeCost
Low-volume* mixed use case$2/month
Special: Charity / 501(c)(3) Nonprofit$5/month
Special: Emergency Services$5/month

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). 

  • The threshold for "low volume" is fewer than 500 messages per day, or approx. 15,000 messages per month.

AT&T Carrier Fees

Fees effective for all long code messages to AT&T, starting October 1st:

  • $0.002 per outbound SMS message segment to AT&T
  • $0.0035 per outbound MMS message to AT&T

Fees effective for long code messages to AT&T after the transition period ends (date TBD):

Campaign use case typeAT&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
Basic / Unregistered$0.004$0.005

How long does it take to get registered?

Registration can typically be completed in a few minutes if you've already collected all of the required information. For example, if you are registering a US-based business, you should ensure you have your Employer Identification Number (EIN) ready when you begin registration. However, in the event that there is a discrepancy with the information you provide, a manual review may be required for Secondary Vetting which can take up to 7 days.

Is MMS messaging affected by A2P 10DLC?

Yes, MMS messaging via long code is subject to carrier fees as part of A2P 10DLC. We also expect registered MMS traffic to ultimately benefit from reduced carrier filtering. However, long code MMS messaging remains subject to throughput limits, due to limited carrier capacity. For high-volume MMS use cases in the United States, a short code is still the best option.

What message sending throughput (MPS) do I get?

Message throughput (MPS) will be allocated per registered Campaign Use Case. For many customers, A2P 10DLC will offer much higher throughput than the traditional 1 MPS for long code messaging, without the requirement of using additional numbers to get higher throughput.

How do these rule changes affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers? Should I switch to 10DLC?

These changes do not directly affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers, except for officially prohibiting shared short codes for all use cases except authentication codes. Details below.

Shared short codes will be banned (date TBD)

Dedicated short codes are still a great way to send high-volume A2P messaging in the United States. However, the use of shared short code numbers will be banned with the transition to A2P 10DLC. The only exception to this policy is shared short codes used to send 2-factor auth (2FA) or OTP codes only.

“Shared short codes” refers to short code numbers that are shared among multiple brands, for example, Shoe Company A and Beverage Company B sending messages via the same short code number. If you have purchased a short code number from Salesmsg and are using it for your own business and brand only, you are not affected by this change.

Under the new policy, a short code may be shared across multiple companies only for the purposes of sending authentication code messages, for example, "Your login code is 12345." Any other category of messaging is not allowed on a shared short code.

Customers who are sharing a short code among multiple clients or brands for any purpose other than sending 2-factor codes (also known as OTPs) should completely migrate away from shared short codes.

Previously, the end date for shared short codes was identified as June 1. As of July 1, the end date for shared short codes is on hold until the successful implementation of A2P 10DLC. A specific date will be shared here when we have information to share.

Toll-Free SMS – no changes

US Toll-Free phone numbers are not affected by these changes. Toll-Free SMS is still a great way to send A2P SMS in the United States as well as Canada.

Is messaging to Canada or any other countries also affected by these changes?

No. Canadian mobile carriers may introduce registered A2P 10DLC solutions in the future, but at this time carriers have not announced any plans to do so.

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