What is A2P 10DLC and what are the benefits of 10DLC compliance?

10DLC (10-digit long code) is a long number for business messaging in the US, which requires a special registration process and has to be compliant with US messaging guidelines. It was developed as a substitute for businesses that were using P2P numbers for A2P messaging.

In this blog we will introduce A2P 10DLC, explain how 10DLC compliance in the US is more important than ever, and how businesses can start reaping the benefits of improved campaign performance and an enhanced brand reputation.

What is A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC (10-digit long code) has been specifically designed and sanctioned for business messaging. It offers simplicity, stability, delivery reliability, and security to businesses and their audiences. It also supports a healthy volume of messaging – though not as high as the hundreds of transactions per second (TPS) that short codes offer.

The US long codes widely used by businesses in previous years were only ever designed for person-to-person (P2P) communications. They have low volume throughout and lack the security standards required for business communication. Carriers have always considered them to be an unsanctioned SMS route. For this reason, they were subject to blocking and throttling.

Why have shared US short codes been phased out?

Most US carriers now prohibit shared short codes in their updated codes of conduct.

The primary stated reason is that they see them as a high security and spam risk. The fact that many businesses share the same short code makes them difficult to police. Following the launch of A2P 10DLC, carriers began requiring that shared codes were migrated to dedicated 10DLCs or short codes.

For businesses this has been a positive step – especially as privacy and anti-spam legislation has been tightened up. With shared short codes, the businesses that used them would also have to share the keywords for opting in and opting out. This meant that if another company abused the SSC by sending inappropriate or excess messages then any recipient using the STOP, QUIT or CANCEL would automatically be unavailable to all the brands using the short code. Even worse, legitimate businesses could have all their traffic suspended by carriers due to misuse of the shared code by another brand.

Do you need a dedicated US short code?

Moving to a dedicated short code will be one option for businesses that find themselves unable to use shared ones. The monthly costs are higher, but dedicated short codes enjoy higher carrier support, and increased conversion potential for campaigns. They are the clear choice for brands who message large audiences.

Another option for companies will be to move to A2P 10DLC. These numbers have lower monthly costs, are sanctioned by the carrier networks, and are much faster to provision.

What is 10DLC compliance?

The major carriers in the United States have introduced 10DLC compliance in order to improve the quality of the entire messaging ecosystem by ramping up security, reducing spam, and offering improved deliverability.

The benefits of 10DLC compliance

Better security: In order to comply with 10DLC regulations, any business sending 10DLC traffic needs to register both their organization and each campaign with the Campaign Registry (TCR) which is the reputation authority for business messaging on 10DLC. For each campaign that is sent, the TCR will complete a Brand Identity Check, which will result in either a VERIFIED or UNVERIFIED status, with only verified campaigns being allowed to proceed.

This significantly reduces the chances of bad actors abusing the 10DLC system by sending spam or fraudulent messages.

Improved deliverability rates: With carriers implementing more stringent filtering mechanisms to protect their customers from both spam and fraudulent attacks, the knock on effect is that some genuine traffic can get blocked, leading to lower deliverability rates and decreased campaign performance.

Brands can mitigate this risk by registering their campaigns with the TCR which significantly increases the chances that messages will not be blocked.

Enhanced brand integrity: By complying with 10DLC regulations, businesses are actively protecting their customers from both fraud and unwanted communication. By using a dedicated 10-digit number, brands also ensure consistency, which also increases customers’ trust in the message.

What is A2P 10DLC vetting?

Although all the Tier-1 carriers have a vested interest in keeping 10DLC spam free and safe for their customers, they approach this in slightly different ways.

Verizon achieves this using spam and smishing filters. It does not use vetting scores to assign throughput but instead allocates TPS (transaction per second) in the same way as it does for short codes. This allows you to expect healthy TPS rates.

As part of the 10DLC campaign registration process, AT&T gives each campaign a “message class”. A certain amount of throughput is expected to be assigned to each class. If you need more throughput, you might be given the opportunity to go through a vetting process with a verified independent agency. A good vetting score from them could lead to higher throughput.

T-Mobile (Sprint) allocates TPS at the brand level – as a daily limit. If you have more than one campaign running, your daily quota is split across those campaigns. There are two options when it comes to receiving your daily messaging quota.

The first option is through default vetting in two tiers. The high-performance tier is for public companies and requires a vetting score of 75 or higher. This will earn you a daily quota of 200,000 messages. The low-performance tier (with a vetting score of 0–24) will earn a daily quota of 2,000 messages.

Any brand that doesn’t fit one of the above tiers, or that wants to improve their vetting score, will need to be third-party vetted. There are four buckets in this category for vetting scores:

  • 0–24 vetting score receives a 2,000 daily messaging quota
  • 25–49 vetting score receives a 10,000 daily messaging quota
  • 50–74 vetting score receives a 40,000 daily messaging quota
  • 75–100 vetting score receives a 200,000 daily messaging quota

How is 10DLC trustworthiness measured?

An example of an SMS use case likely to be deemed low-risk would be one that uses A2P 10DLC to send and receive SMS-based two-factor authorization (2FA). That’s because consumers have asked for this traffic, they respond to it, and it’s safe and necessary.

On the other end of the scale would be promotional marketing campaigns by third party affiliates. That’s because there’s a potential for these campaigns to be sent to consumers who may not have been opted into the campaign correctly.

The score you receive could dictate the volume and throughput of messages each carrier allows you to send through their respective networks.

But the big takeaway is: if your campaigns are not in any way spam-like, and your customers want to receive your messages and have been opted in correctly, you’re probably going to be alright.

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

The other messaging option available for businesses is to communicate with customers via a text-enabled toll-free number.

This is a service that allows businesses to “text enable” existing toll-free phone numbers, so they have one number customers can either text or call them on.

It’s important to note, that although “toll free” numbers are free for a consumer to call (ie the business pays the consumer cost), it is not free to text a “text-enabled toll-free number”. The consumer would have a SMS standard fee deducted from either the limited or unlimited text plan they have with their respective carrier.

These TETF numbers can have a high throughput when they are verified (though not quite as high as short codes) and are secure and approved for business use.

Like 10DLC, they are another messaging option for businesses that want to start messaging quickly and easily without the higher cost sometimes associated with short codes.

How can Infobip help me with 10DLC?

With our 10DLC service and APIs you can view your entire inventory of originators (short codes, long codes, alphanumeric) – as well as provision and configure your 10DLC numbers.

We can ensure 10DLC compliance and ensure that your brand and all your campaigns are registered with the Campaign Registry.

This makes us a one-stop-shop for businesses that want to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on 10DLC.

Our Numbers and Short Codes solution lets you do everything you need to send and receive messages via 10DLC. This includes:

  • Search for and purchase multiple 10DLC numbers
  • Migrate your existing long codes where feasible
  • Register brand, campaign and use-case information
  • Request a score through Standard or Enhanced vetting with a 3rd party vetting agency
  • View status of campaigns and which 10DLCs are assigned to them
  • View a summary of your owned 10DLCs (and all other originators)

Get expert advice on A2P 10DLC

Contact us
Sep 14th, 2023
6 min read