10-Digit Long Code — What You Need to Know

10-Digit Long Code — What You Need to Know

10-digit long code, otherwise known as 10 DLC, is a North American system for sending application-to-person (A2P) business messages using a standard 10-digit phone number. 

It sounds a bit technical, I know. But don’t worry. 

In this post, I’ll break it down step-by-step so you’ll know everything you need you need to know about the 10-digit long code.

How is 10-Digit Long Code Different from a Short Code?

Short codes use a 4-6-digit number, like “12345” for A2P (app to person) purposes. They get their name because of the simple fact that they use less digits than 10-digit long code messages. 

One of main reasons businesses use short codes is because of their high throughput (rate of sending). 

“Unlike long codes, the ‘throughput is much higher than a normal long code due to its more frequent use,” explains Mel Kuttan, content strategist for MessageMedia. With them, you can send a massive volume of text messages of up to 500 per second and millions per day. 

Common uses for short codes include marketing blasts, promotions, alerts, and notifications. 

10 DLC, on the other hand, uses a 10-digit local phone number in an international format, such as “+1 123 456 7899.” As the name implies, they use more numbers than their short code counterparts — hence the name long code. 

It should be noted that 10 DLC has a lower throughput than short code, where you can only send one per second and up to 5,000 per day. That said, modern A2P 10DLC offers a higher throughput than what was previously available with person-to-person (P2P) messaging, making long code more than sufficient in many cases. 

It’s ideal for sending segmented texts and comes with a local number for a more personalized feel. Common uses of 10 DLC are service updates, appointment reminders, customer surveys, and troubleshooting. 

What’s the Purpose of 10-Digit Long Code?

Due to the ridiculously high open rate of 99% and an average response rate of 45%, SMS messaging has become one of the primary ways businesses now reach consumers. By comparison, email marketing only has an open rate of 15-33% and an average click-through rate of 2.5-6%. 

But with this widespread use of SMS has come an increase in spam, and “over the past year, the FTC has documented a 1.3x increase in texting spam complaints.”

The primary purpose of 10-digit long code is to regulate SMS marketing to reduce spam and create more trust and transparency between businesses and consumers. 

I mentioned in a recent post called A2P 10 DLC: The Ultimate Guide that in order to use 10DLC, businesses must first register with The Campaign Registry and provide information like:

  • Company name
  • The country you’re registered in 
  • The type of company you operate
  • Your tax or EIN number
  • Company website
  • SMS campaign name
  • SMS campaign description
  • SMS campaign use case
  • Sample messages
  • Contact information

By registering, carriers know who you are and what you’re sending, which in turn, helps better them regulate SMS marketing and reduce unscrupulous activity. The long-term goal is to use 10DLC to replace shared short codes, which are notorious for spam. 

As Caroline Sutton of Bandwidth.com puts it, “The industry is making way for 10DLC; ten-digit long code messaging is a new, carrier-sanctioned way to send A2P messages using local phone numbers, that started with Verizon in 2020.” 

But note that most other major carriers are following suit, with AT&T requiring businesses to register by June 1, 2021 to avoid filtering, potential blockage, and additional fees. 

You can find full details in this resource from Twilio

Can I Register for 10-Digit Long Code with Salesmsg?

Absolutely! 

We know that this whole thing can seem a little overwhelming to many businesses. But don’t sweat it. We’ve got your back. 

If you’re a Salesmsg user, we can gather the necessary information and submit it for you. 

Otherwise, if you’re not a Salemsg user, then you’ll need to go through The Campaign Registry. There, you can learn the ins and outs of how it works and how to get started.

How Will Carriers Determine the Trust Level of Businesses Using 10-Digit Long Codes?

Again, the main goal of 10-digit long code is to protect consumers by cracking down on spam. 

After a business registers through a partner like Salesmsg or directly through The Campaign Registry, they’re given a trust score of Low, Medium, or High based on the information they provide. 

This rating is a key factor in determining what the maximum SMS throughput is. Businesses with a high trust score will have a higher maximum throughput than those with a low trust score. 

What Countries Are Impacted by the 10-Digit Long Code Regulation?

Currently, it only applies to companies that are sending text messages to AT&T users within the US. Although there have been talks about Canadian carriers requiring businesses to register for 10 DLC in the future, there haven’t been any official announcements as of yet. 

But check back with the Salesmsg blog routinely for updates on this.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to be concerned with the new regulation if you don’t send messages to American consumers. If, however, US consumers are your bread and butter, you’ll definitely want to get registered ASAP. 

Jonas Flowers sending a 10DLC number reminder SMS

Can You Still Use Shared Short Codes Moving Forward?

No. 

Although you can continue to use dedicated short codes, shared short codes — those used between multiple businesses — will be banned in the US and Canada. With shared short codes presenting such a high spam risk, carriers have decided to collectively end this type of service.

At the beginning of March 2021, carriers have stopped onboarding new shared short codes, and existing ones will either be terminated or must be migrated. On June 1, 2021, AT&T will officially ban shared short codes altogether. 

What Are the Key Benefits of 10-Digit Long Code?

When some businesses first hear about 10 DLC and everything that’s involved with getting set up, all they can think of is the hassles. But besides being beneficial to consumers, it can have a lot of advantages for your company as well. 

Here are some of the biggest reasons to use this messaging solution. 

10-Digit Long Codes Keep Your Business Compliant with A2P 10 DLC

At the moment, AT&T is the only carrier that’s penalizing companies for not registering. But considering that they have nearly 40% of the mobile market share, that’s a big deal. 

Judging from the fact that most other major carriers are getting on board, this is a trend that’s likely to continue. T-Mobile and US Cellular, for example, are also participating. 

Making the switch to 10 DLC ensures compliance, and it can spare you a lot of friction moving forward as it becomes the new norm for business messaging.  

10-Digit Long Codes Give Your Messages a Recognizable Area Code

I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a random call or text outside of my area code, I usually ignore it. And most consumers do the same. 

Using a 10-digit long code, however, means your texts show up as a local number, which translates into a higher open rate. It also gives your texts more of a human touch when compared to sending short code texts, which often give off “bot vibes.”

In turn, this allows you to reach a higher percentage of consumers with 10DLC — more so than you likely would using a short code. 

10-Digit Long Codes Improve Deliverability

“Because 10 DLC numbers are sanctioned by the term vendors, messages sent on these numbers are more likely going to reach the recipient” writes Michael Bratschi of Telynx. 

With less of your messages being filtered or blocked, it means a higher volume get where they need to go. 

10-Digit Long Code Is Cost-Effective

You can also expect to pay considerably less for 10 DLC numbers than you would for dedicated short codes, with the cost being comparable to a local long code phone number. If you’re looking for a low-priced option and don’t need to send a massive volume of messages, 10-digit long code is a great choice.  

10-Digit Long Codes Provide a Better Overall Customer Experience

Due to a higher level of regulation and the fact that companies are vetted with 10-digit long code, there’s less spam and more trust. As a result, this enhances the overall customer experience. 

“A2P 10 DLC enables your business to take advantage of a verified ecosystem, with higher throughput and deliverability, and it combines it with the power of a local identity,” explains Twilio. “Create a personalized, high engagement SMS experience with your local customers.”

So at the end of the day, you can communicate more efficiently with your customers and keep them in the loop, while at the same time raising your brand’s credibility. 

10-Digit Long Code Give You Voice Enabled As Well as a Text Enabled Number

Another cool feature is that 10 DLCs support voice, meaning you can make voice calls, which can add a new dimension to your customer interactions. That way you can alternate between calls and text messages, taking engagement to a whole new level. 

As SMS messaging inevitably becomes more competitive, this can give you an edge over other businesses in your industry. 

What Are the Downsides of 10-Digit Long Code?

While the pros vastly outweigh the cons, there are some disadvantages I should point out to paint a more objective picture. 

One is that 10 DLC doesn’t offer the same throughput as a dedicated short code. 

As I stated earlier, a dedicated short code lets you send a huge volume of text messages with as many as 500 per second and millions per day. With 10 DLC that number is much smaller at just one message per second and up to 5,000 per day. 

Jake Meador of Mobile Text Alerts points out that because 10 DLCs are fairly new, carriers are still developing throughput guidelines, which means that exact throughput can vary. But the bottom line is that you just won’t get the same volume with 10 DLC that you would with a dedicated short code. 

That said, 10-digit short code is still satisfactory for many companies. And there’s a good chance that it can work well for your business as well. 

The other main issue is that it does take some time for your business to register — about 1-3 days on average. This isn’t a big deal for most companies, but it’s something to be aware of. 

FAQs

What’s the difference between 10-digit long code and short codes?

Short codes only have 4-6 digits, while 10 DLC use 10-digit long local numbers. 

An example of a short code is “12345.” 

An example of a 10 DLC is “+1 123 456 7899.”

Short codes offer a much higher throughput volume than 10 DLCs but are a lot more expensive. 

What’s the main reason for using 10-digit long code?

It’s largely being used to cut back on spam. Because businesses are required to register before using it, 10 DLC provides more transparency, which helps protect consumers. 

Which countries are impacted by the new 10 DLC regulation?

As of now, it’s strictly the US that’s impacted by it. But chances are good that Canada will follow suit in the near future. 

How do you become compliant with 10 DLC?

There are two options. 

You can register with The Campaign Registry directly. Or if you’re a Salesmsg user, we can handle the process for you. 

If you don’t want to deal with complications of registering, Salesmsg is your best bet. 

Can you still use shared short codes?

No. 

These are being phased out completely, and AT&T will officially ban them starting June 1, 2021. 

You can, however, continue to use dedicated short codes. 

What are the main advantages to using 10-digit long code?

  • It ensures compliance with A2P 10 DLC
  • It provides you with a local, recognizable area code
  • It increases your deliverability rate
  • It’s much more affordable than using a dedicated short code
  • It enhances the overall customer experience
  • Your number is voice-enabled, as well as text-enabled

What are the drawbacks?

You don’t have the same throughput volume as you do with a shared short code, and it takes up to 3 days to register. 

Daniel Threlfall

Daniel has been nosing around in the digital marketing space for more than ten years — back when "link wheels" were cool and MySpace was...yes, dead, even then. Daniel's favorite career accomplishments involve building NeilPatel.com to over 2m unique monthly users, expanding Shopify's user base as content lead, and making forays into new markets for SaaS businesses like Chili Piper, Ahrefs, Usertesting.com, and others. Today, Daniel is leveraging his marketing energies to help more businesses discover the power of SMS conversations. In his personal life, Daniel is surprised to be the owner of a small farm with real cows and chickens. He and his academic spouse have four kids and are gratefully out of the diaper phase. When the world isn't in a pandemic Daniel and his family travel to far flung places around the world. Insert something about a coffee addiction, cats (even though I don't have any), and craft beer (even though I'm not a connoisseur.)