All Your 10 DLC Questions, Answered

All Your 10 DLC Questions, Answered

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Ah, 10 DLC! The very sound of that cryptic acronym suggests big changes. 

Everything is changing in the business texting world. Everything. 

If you’re not aware of it, you need to be. But if you’re scared of it, you shouldn’t be. 

Knowledge is the greatest antidote to fear, so we’ve assembled a list of the thorniest questions in the 10 DLC universe and answered them. 

Let’s start at the top. But, hey, if we’ve missed a question you have, then we want to answer it. 

Call or text (561) 788-7898.

Let’s get to it. 

What does 10 DLC stand for?

10 DLC stands for 10-digit long code. 

Easy enough.

For those of you who want to know the naming conventions for spelling and capitalization, there is no consensus, but it appears to be all caps and one space between the numbers and the letters — 10 DLC. 

Okay, so what is 10 DLC? 

The 10-digit long code is a number assigned to a business for the purpose of business texting.

Yep, it’s really that simple.

But, then again, there are 2,000 words below to answer all the questions that stem from the “simple” reality of 10 DLC.

Does Salesmsg support 10 DLC? 

Absolutely and 100%. 

We’re with you on this. We’ve got your back. 

Salesmsg  is an independent software provider (ISP), not a carrier. We don’t get to make the rules around 10 DLC.

But we will be compliant with the rules and help onboard all customers into the world of 10 DLC compliance . 

Once the registration details for 10 DLC are released by the carriers (expected March 1, 2021), Salesmsg  will provide an easy process for clients and new customers to roll right into the new 10 DLC registration process.

We’re ahead of the curve on this. We’ve been prepping for 10 DLC for years. And for our existing customers, we our plan will  seamlessly transfer you into the new universe of 10 DLC 

What about this acronym  – US A2P 10 DLC?

What does that line of jargon mean? 

  • US = United States
  • A2P = App to Person
  • 10 DLC = Ten Digit Long Code

A2P is application-to-person messaging, which is how a lot of businesses send SMS updates to their customers. 

Most of the time A2P messages don’t expect a reply — for example when you get a delivery notification for that sweet air fryer you ordered. 

A2P and P2P? (person-to-person or peer-to-peer) are handled differently by SMS carriers, which is one of the reasons 10 DLC has come to existence. 

When is 10 DLC happening? 

March 1st, 2021 is when the new 10 DLC regulations are expected to be published and the registration process can begin.

After March 1st, businesses have at least 3 months to register for 10 DLC before restrictions and punitive measures apply to non-compliant businesses.

Even though the 10 DLC discussion has been in the works for years, it’s only now reached the point where requirements are set and registration will be required. 

What are the consequences of not getting registered for 10 DLC? 

According to one website, penalties appear to be draconian. 

Here’s an example: 

  • Text Enablement Fee: $10,000 USD if a company or a message sender text-enables a 10-digit NANP telephone number and sends messages before verification of message sender ownership 
  • Grey Route: $10 USD per message for each 10 DLC message sent by a message sender via a P2P route
  • Program Evasion: $1,000 USD for each unique instance of a violation (snowshoeing, dynamic routing, spam filter evasion, unapproved campaign service)
  • Content violation: $10,000 USD for the third and any subsequent notification of a violation from the same content provider

Most likely, any violation  will at first involve warnings and reminders, which become slightly more coercive. 

Then, you may begin to suffer a decline in SMS deliverability or in a worse case, an all-out block.

Eventually, carriers will probably levy fines for noncompliance. 

The penalties and the aggressiveness  of enforcing those penalties is entirely up to the individual carriers.

Who came up with 10 DLC anyway? 

10 DLC is the collective decision of all major US phone carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. 

Today, every carrier is participating, and there’s no escaping the requirement of 10 DLC if your business sends SMS. 

Do I need to get a new number? 

No. 

All you need to do is register your existing ten-digit number and you’ll get 10 DLC capabilities. 

Can customers text the business on a 10 DLC line? 

Yep! No problem. 

Even though the discussion around 10 DLC largely centers on A2P (app-to-person), two-way texting is perfectly legit. 

Can the business use the 10 DLC line for voice and text? 

Again, yes. 

Okay, so why 10 DLC? 

Why do we need this extra layer of complexity and regulation? 

It boils down to a few things — 1) the profitability of the carriers, 2) the protection of the consumer, 3) and the benefit of the business. 

The Profitability of the Carriers

Registering your 10 DLC is not free. Someone is  going to have to pay for it. This translates into a “processing fee” for the carriers, which is probably going to add revenue and give their executives l a bigger bonus. That’s the cynical capitalistic answer to the question.

The Protection of the Consumer

The more genuine  answer to the why , is consumer protection.

Just like regulations to prevent you from getting 45-million spam emails each day, the 10 DLC implementation’s intent is to protect  you from spam texts.

The Benefit of the Business 

Don’t worry. Businesses stand to benefit as well. 

 With 10 DLC, you can be assured of superior deliverability and SMS throughput.

10 DLC provides all of the upside you’ve wanted in business texting. 

Let’s boil it down. 10 DLC is a good thing — for your customers, for you. 

And, regardless of how you feel about it, it’s good for John Stankey’s retirement plan.

John Stankey, in spite of his name, is AT&T’s CEO. Just in case you were wondering.

Do I have to get 10 DLC? 

Are you a business? Do you text? 

Then, yes, sorry. There’s no way around it? 

Is 10 DLC a good thing? 

We say yes. And we think you’ll agree. 

10 DLC is designed  to give businesses a superior and spam-free A2P communication with customers, leads, and contacts

Here are the benefits:

  • Because 10 DLC required, it will level the SMS playing field and provide uniformity around A2P SMS standards
  • Costs a heck of a lot less than dedicated and even shared short codes
  • You’ll get faster throughput than non-registered long codes
  • You’ll be vetted and scored by carriers, meaning that the higher your throughput scoring, the better your sendrate
  • You don’t have to share short codes with other businesses who may or may not share your sterling ethical standard of SMS marketing
  • It’s less likely customers will complain about spam texts, and more likely that you’ll have superior spam ratings for your number

Ah, what a wonderful world. 

How much does 10 DLC cost? 

This is a big question. And a good one, because it shows you’re a shrewd business owner, interested in dollars and cents. 

Way to go, you. 

Let’s answer it. 

  • $50 – one-time 10 DLC registration fee
  • $4 – one-time carrier fee
  • $10/mo – monthly recurring subscription fee

The only sustained fee for 10 DLC will be the $10 monthly charge plus whatever message fees and credits you use. 

In addition, most carriers will continue to levy message fees.

According to Twilio’s record of AT&T fees, it looks like this:

Campaign typeAT&T long code SMS carrier feeAT&T long code MMS carrier feeUse cases within campaign type
Declared Use Case$0.002$0.0035Single use case covering 2FA, authentication, customer care, group messaging, notifications, operations, etc.
Mixed / Marketing Use Case$0.003$0.0035Marketing use case or combination of use cases under one campaign.
Basic / Unregistered$0.004$0.005High risk provider or unregistered traffic
Special (select use cases only)$0.000$0.000Charity, emergency services, public safety
Political$0.002$0.0035Political use cases

While we’re in shrewd business owner mode, let me just throw this out there.

$60/mo plus fees is the cost of doing business in today’s world. 

Today, it’s not a question of if you’ll textize your business anymore. You have to. It is a thing.

Salesmsg  customers report they recoup the cost of their Salesmsg  investment in a single text. 

This isn’t hyperbole cooked up by the overzealous marketing department at Salesmsg . This is a fact backed by data that I just got from our CTO. 

Example: One text exchange from a business with a prospect led to that prospect becoming a customer and paying $1,270 for goods and services over the course of six months. 

That more than paid for Salesmsg and all related fees. 

Multiply that by whatever multiple of texts, customer support issues, and customer retention metrics you care about, and it becomes rapidly apparent that textifying your business is a no-brainer. 

(Gently stepping down from soap box to answer more of your questions…) 

Do I have to pay the registration fee for every business number that I own? 

Yes, every number has its own required 10 DLC registration fee. 

Fees are levied according to the number, not the business entity. 

However, additional pricing does not apply for phone numbers that have extensions. 

How will my pricing change with Salesmsg?

If you’re a Salesmsg customer, pricing will change to reflect passthrough costs associated with 10 DLC registration.

Salesmsg will not profit from these increased costs. They are exclusively to insure  your business is 10 DLC compliant. 

What does the registration process look like? 

Final details are forthcoming, but the registration will likely need the following information: 

  • The legal name of your  company
  • The legal structure of your  company (LLC, S-Corp, etc.) 
  • What  state or country your company is  incorporated
  • Your tax ID or EIN of 
  • Your company  website 
  • How you use SMS in your company 

What carriers are supporting 10 DLC?

All of them.

Here are the specifics: 

  • AT&T
  • Sprint 
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • Visible
  • Google Fi
  • Mint Mobile
  • Consumer Cellular 
  • All other carriers that you’ve never heard of plan to comply as well 

I have a toll free number. Do I need 10 DLC? 

Nope. 

You’re off the hook. 

10 DLC is only for the numbers that have local area codes. 

For example, my local area code is 864. South Carolina in case you’re wondering. For my Fresh Eggs and Produce business, I’m going to register my 864 business line for 10 DLC.

(I do have chickens that lay fresh eggs, by the way.) 

Do I have a toll free number? 

Not sure if you have a toll-free number? 

If your business phone number starts with any one of the following three-digit toll-free prefixes, you have a toll-free number:

  • 800
  • 888
  • 877
  • 866
  • 855
  • 844
  • 833

No 10 DLC needed for those numbers. 

What are some of the features that 10 DLC supports? 

Some of the features supported by the 10-digit long code include:

  • MMS
  • Voice
  • Short URLs (carriers will filter public or generic URLs like Bit.ly
  • Concatenated messages
  • Keywords (opt-in, opt-out, or special keywords)
  • The long code does not authenticate handset DLR (delivery report). The only DLR supported is the SMSC (short message service center) DLR.

What about my short codes? What’s happening to them? 

Nearly all US carriers have stopped provisioning new shared short codes. 

Why? 

Spam, basically. 

To please their customers, carriers must prevent as much spam as possible from reaching their customers’ phones.

Sadly, short codes have been the source of unseemly behavior on the part of unscrupulous marketers, so adios shared short codes. 

Slowly, short codes are also being decommissioned. Eventually, there will no longer be any functional short codes. 

What should I do if I’m using a shared short code? 

Easy. Get your 10 DLC registration.

Hey, short code elimination is a pretty good thing. You don’t have to pay those hefty short code fees, and you’re less likely to be on the frowny-face list of spammy businesses. 

A 10 DCL registration gives you a new level of better SMS deliverability, so you can enjoy the benefit of A2P messaging, without the worry of losing those pesky short codes. 

Any more questions?

We’re all ears — and hopefully answers, too. 

Call or text now: (561) 788-7898.

We will attempt to update this page to provide answers to more FAQs as they come in. 

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.)