A2P 10 DLC – The Ultimate Guide

A2P 10 DLC – The Ultimate Guide

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 their 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. 

Which Carriers are Impacted By A2P 10 DLC?

Every U.S. carrier is adopting A2P 10 DLC standards.

Currently it’s just AT&T, and they’ll be launching their A2P 10 DLC service at the beginning of April 2021, which I’ll cover in-depth shortly. 

While Verizon already launched their solution in 2019, they’re not currently impacted.

T-Mobile and US Cellular are also participating carriers, and will likely be doing something similar as AT&T in the near future. But at the moment, they’re not impacted either. 

Note that AT&T is the top carrier in the US and had nearly 40% of wireless subscriptions in Q3 2019. That’s why it’s so important for B2Bs to be compliant with A2P 10 DLC.

What Do You Need to Do to Become Compliant?

Every brand, business, or entity that sends SMS to customers or users is required to register.

If you are a Salesmsg user, we’ve got you covered. We will gather the required information and submit it to the relevant registries on your behalf.

Non-Salesmsg customers should get registration information from The Campaign Registry, which is the reputation authority for business messaging on 10 DLC.

Are There Situations Where You Don’t Need to Register?

There is only one reason why you wouldn’t need to register:

You do not send text messages via long codes to users in the US.

Here are some examples of businesses that do not need to register for A2P 10 DLC:

  1. You operate a business that only sends messages to Canadian customers and phone numbers, no US numbers.
  2. Or, your business uses a 1-800 number. Currently, toll free numbers (800, 888, etc.) are exempt.

However, if you do send text messages to users in the US you’ll definitely need to register. 

It’s important

What Information Must You Provide When Registering?

Carriers just want to know two things — who you are and what you are sending.

Obviously, when you register you will need to provide some details. Here are the specifics you’ll need to provide when registering for A2P 10 DLC:

  • Your company name
  • The country you’re registered in
  • The type of company you are
  • Your tax or EIN number
  • Your company’s website
  • SMS campaign name, description, and use case
  • Sample messages from your campaign 
  • Contact information

This 10DLC Nexmo guide will walk you through the brand registration process step-by-step. 

The questions are meant to serve as proxy for gauging the trustworthiness of your brand or business.

What Happens Once You Register?

After registering, The Campaign Registry will perform a verification check, analyzing the information you provided. From there, they will give your company a Trust Score of Low, Medium, or High, which will be a key factor in determining your maximum SMS throughput. 

The higher your throughput is, the more messages you can send quicker, depending on your carrier.

When Will A2P 10 DLC Launch on AT&T?

“A2P 10 DLC will launch on AT&T beginning April 1, 2021, with new registration requirements for businesses who intend to send long code messages to AT&T in the US,” writes Twilio. “Registration must be completed by June 1, 2021 to avoid additional filtering.”

On May 1, 2021, AT&T will start their fee schedule where non-registered businesses will have to pay extra Network Access Fees (NAFs). So, if you haven’t registered by May 1, you’ll pay more than businesses that have registered. 

According to Signalwire, AT&T NAFs for non-registered users are $0.004 per SMS message and $0.005 per MMS message. However, it’s only $0.002 for a declared use case, standard SMS message and $0.0035 for a MMS message. 

Once June 1, 2021 rolls around, AT&T will increase the filtering of non-registered 10-digit code traffic. This means the text messages of non-registered businesses will be subject to heavy filtering and may be blocked starting on that date. 

There’s certainly no reason to panic, but it’s best to register as soon as you can. This should help you make the transition more smoothly, and you’ll have more wiggle room than businesses that wait until the last minute.  

Does This New Regulation Apply Exclusively to the US?

Yes. 

As of now, A2P 10 DLC strictly applies to businesses sending text messages to AT&T users in the US. As I touched on earlier, it doesn’t currently apply to you if you’re sending texts to users outside the US. 

This includes Canada. Twilio points out, “Canadian mobile carriers may introduce registered A2P 10 DLC solutions in the future, but at this time carriers have not announced any plans to do so.”

Again, if you’re not sending texts to US users, this regulation isn’t something you need to be concerned with at the moment. 

Does This Impact Short Codes and Toll-Free Numbers?

No. 

You can continue to use your toll free number without any complications.

Shared short codes, however, are another story. If you use shared short codes that are used by different brands using the same short code number, these will officially be banned by AT&T starting June 1, 2021. 

So, if you’re currently using shared short codes, you’ll need to migrate away from them by the deadline to avoid any issues. 

Essentially, short codes are going away.

What If You’re Using WhatsApp?

Given that A2P 10 DLC is having such a big impact on SMS, will it also affect WhatsApp? 

No. This platform is a messaging app and doesn’t involve phone carriers like AT&T, which means the information sent from businesses to users is transmitted via the internet rather than a carrier.

Because no carriers are involved, WhatsApp is unaffected by this new regulation. Long story short, you can continue to use WhatsApp like usual without any interference. 

What Are the Benefits of A2P 10 DLC?

Let’s be honest. Major changes like this are seldom met with joy from businesses. 

This one is complex and technical, and figuring out the details can admittedly be a hassle for many companies. I know that it took me a while to fully wrap my head around it. 

But it’s important to note that besides offering some major benefits for the end users, A2P 10 DLC has distinct advantages for your company as well. 

For starters, it should increase the delivery reliability of your text messages. Implementing these new registration and regulation requirements creates a verified ecosystem, which ultimately translates into a higher percentage of your messages reaching end users. 

Next, 10DLC offers local phone number recognition, which means leads see a local number whenever you send text messages. This is big because they’re more likely to open your texts, thus increasing your open rate and engagement levels.  

Third, using a 10-digit number creates a more personalized experience for users. Long codes have the feel like they’re coming from a human rather than a bot, which creates a better level of customer service. 

Finally, A2P 10 DLC can support a high volume of messages. “The US long codes widely used by businesses in previous years were only ever designed for person-to-person (P2P) communications,” says OpenMarket. But, as they point out, application-to-person (A2P) is designed specifically for text messaging on the large scale, making it ideal when you need to reach a high volume of leads.

So, it’s important to see the big picture here and recognize the practical benefits this change can have on your SMS marketing campaign. 

Let’s Recap

SMS has become an insanely popular way for B2Bs to reach leads and customers. 

Text messages offer a ridiculously high open and response rate. And with the average American checking their phone a staggering 96 times per day, it’s easy to see why so many brands have gone all in on this communication channel. 

But as SMS usage has increased, so has the volume of spam complaints, which is largely what has prompted A2P 10 DLC. The primary goal of this regulation is to provide more transparency and build a more trusted ecosystem, while at the same time creating a more efficient framework for B2Bs to send a high volume of messages.

Unless you don’t send text messages to leads in the US or have a very small business where you only send a tiny volume of text messages, you’ll want to register your brand with The Campaign Registry, which you can do here

While it does require some effort to get set up, there are some significant advantages of A2P 10 DLC, including increased deliverability reliability, a higher message open rate, deeper engagement, and an improved overall customer experience. 

In terms of launch date, it’s April 1, 2021 for AT&T. 

Starting May 1, non-registered businesses will pay higher fees than those that haven’t registered. And starting June 1, 2021, AT&T will increase the filtering of non-registered businesses, which means messages will be heavily filtered and potentially blocked. 

That’s why I recommended registering as soon as possible to avoid higher fees and interruptions. If you use SMS marketing in any way, you’ll definitely want to get on board right away. 

FAQs

What is A2P 10 DLC?

It’s a US-based system that lets businesses send Application-to-Person (A2P) text messages via 10-digit long code (10DLC) numbers.

What’s the purpose of it?

To protect consumers from spam and create a more transparent and trusted ecosystem. 

When does it go into effect?

AT&T will launch it on April 1, 2021. 

Their fee schedule for non-registered businesses will start on May 1, 2021. And businesses must be registered by June 1, 2021 to avoid additional filtering and potential blocking. 

In other words, you need to be registered by May 1, 2021 to avoid extra fees and by June 1, 2021 to prevent your text messages from being heavily filtered or blocked. 

Do I need to register?

The only reason you wouldn’t need to register is if you don’t send messages to US users or operate a very small business with an extremely low volume of messages. 

Otherwise, you do.

What happens when I register?

The Campaign Registry will run a verification check and will assign your business a Trust Score of Low, Medium, or High.

What happens if I don’t register?

You’ll pay Network Access Fees (NAFs) with AT&T and will be subject to heavy message filtering and potentially blocking. 

What are the key benefits of A2P 10 DLC?

  • Increased throughput
  • Higher deliverability reliability
  • Higher open rate
  • Improved engagement
  • Enhanced customer experience

A2P 10 DLC has no doubt got many businesses scratching their heads and scrambling to meet the deadline. But don’t worry. Salesmsg has your back, and we’ll get you up-to-speed. 

If you’ve got questions, go ahead and reach out to us. Call or text (561) 788-7898.

Chris Brisson

Hey. I'm the co-founder of Salesmsg and we created this software to help you connect with your prospects and customers. Let's face it... people don't want to talk these days, they'd rather text. We can help you text.