What is 10DLC (10-Digit Long Code)?

A 10-digit long code (10DLC) number is a US-specific, carrier-sanctioned, 10-digit phone number used for business messaging.

This replaces the previous limitations of traditional long codes, opening new possibilities for engaging with your audience.

You might also see 10DLC referred to as an approved A2P 10DLC.

What are 10DLC capabilities?

A 10-digit long code phone number can be used for:

  • Two-way communication: You can directly engage in conversations with customers through their preferred texting channel.
  • Voice and text: You offer both voice calls and text messaging with a single number.
  • Personalization: You can send text messages based on customer preferences and demographics for a more engaging experience.

What is a 10-digit long code used for?

10DLC is excellent for use cases that don’t require high throughput, including:

  • Marketing campaigns: Promote new products, announce sales, and send targeted offers.
  • Appointment reminders: Send automated reminders for appointments, bookings, and reservations.
  • Review invites and reminders: Encourage positive reviews by asking satisfied customers to leave feedback.
  • Order updates and shipping notifications: Keep customers informed about their orders and deliveries (i.e., rideshare and airline-related updates).
  • Customer support and FAQs: Provide prompt assistance and answer common questions through text chat.
  • Events, promotions, and sales: Engage attendees, promote upcoming events, and drive sales through targeted messages.
  • Two-factor authentication: Carriers’ pre-approval of 10-digit long code numbers aligns with the security and reliability of 2FA.

What are the benefits of 10DLC?

The benefits of a 10-digit long code include the following:

  • Higher SMS message volumes and increased throughput: Send and receive more messages than ever, reaching your target audience efficiently.
  • Lower costs with added flexibility: Enjoy cost-effective messaging compared to short codes, with the option to choose a number local to your area.
  • Better delivery rate and compliance: Carriers recognize 10DLC numbers, minimizing the risk of blocked messages and ensuring adherence to regulations and message delivery.

Is a 10DLC required?

While optional for some businesses, registering for a 10-digit long code is highly recommended. Mobile carriers are phasing out legacy messaging protocols, and non-compliant businesses risk service disruptions and potential fines.

10DLC registration aims to address:

  • Spam and phishing are widespread: Protect consumers from unwanted and fraudulent messages.
  • Bad customer experiences: Ensure transparency and build trust through ethical communication.
  • Hold spammers accountable: Deter bad practices and promote a healthier messaging ecosystem.

10DLC regulations and compliance

10-digit long code adheres to stricter regulations focused on protecting consumers from spam and ensuring transparent business practices. Registration helps demonstrate your commitment to ethical communication.

10DLC best practices

To effectively use 10DLC, you should:

  • Obtain explicit and documented opt-in consent from recipients.
  • Maintain transparency in your messaging and identify your company.
  • Offer easy opt-out options in every message.
  • Segment your audience for targeted communication.
  • Utilize personalization features for a more engaging experience.

What is the difference between 10DLC vs. short code?

Choosing between 10DLC and short codes for business texting can be tricky. Both have pros and cons; the best option depends on your needs.

Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Volume: A 10-digit long code offers higher capacity than short codes, making it ideal for more extensive campaigns.
  • Cost: 10DLC is generally more cost-effective, especially for high-volume messaging.
  • Branding: Short codes provide more robust brand recognition but are typically more expensive.
  • Deliverability and compliance: 10DLC numbers require registration and vetting for compliance; short codes also need registration, but the vetting process may be quicker.
  • Delivery receipts: 10DLC does not offer delivery receipts, while short codes often do.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider the factors above and consult with your text message service provider for further guidance.

What is the difference between 10DLC vs. toll-free numbers?

Choosing between A2P 10DLC and toll-free numbers requires understanding their unique features and limitations. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

  • Local presence: 10DLC allows you to choose a local area code for a more personalized touch.
  • Cost: Both offer comparable costs, but a 10-digit long code might be slightly cheaper.
  • Volume: 10DLC generally supports higher message volume than toll-free numbers.
  • Branding: Toll-free numbers have no inherent branding association, but you can tie them to your brand identity. While 10DLC has limited branding opportunities, local area codes can create familiarity.
  • Delivery receipts: Depending on the plan, toll-free numbers may offer delivery receipts.

How to decide between a 10DLC, toll-free, or short code number?

When deciding between a 10DLC, toll-free, or short code number, consider answering these key questions:

1. What is your message volume?

High volume: Choose 10DLC for large campaigns’ highest capacity and best cost-effectiveness.

Moderate volume: Depending on budget and local presence needs, both 10DLC and toll-free can be suitable.

Low volume: Consider short codes for their branding potential and manageable volume limitations.

2. What is your budget?

Tight budget: Prioritize 10DLC for the most affordable option, especially for high volume needs.

Moderate budget: Consider 10DLC or toll-free, depending on brand recognition needs and message volume.

Flexible budget: Short codes offer strong branding but cost the most.

3. What is your target audience?

National audience: Opt for a toll-free number for easy accessibility across regions.

Local audience: A 10DLC with a local area code fosters familiarity and potentially better engagement.

Targeted campaigns: Short codes work well for brand association in focused campaigns.

4. Do you need voice calling capabilities?

Yes: Only 10DLC and toll-free numbers offer both voice and text messaging.

No: Short codes focus solely on texting.

5. How important is branding?

Strong branding: Short codes provide unique and memorable options.

Moderate branding: Toll-free numbers can be tied to your brand identity.

Limited branding: 10DLC offers fewer branding opportunities.

6. Do you need delivery receipts?

Critical for tracking: Opt for short codes or toll-free numbers with delivery receipt features.

Not essential: 10DLC lacks delivery receipts by default.

7. What about compliance and registration?

All three options: Require registration with carriers.

10DLC: Requires a vetting process for higher volume usage.

Toll-free and short code: Typically quicker registration process.

How to register for 10DLC

Most text message service providers offer a simplified registration process. Generally, you’ll need to provide basic company information and details about your messaging campaigns and obtain opt-in consent documentation.

What throughput should you expect on 10DLC?

10-digit long code potentially has higher messaging throughput than P2P (Person-to-Person) long code traffic – giving you up to (and even above) 30 TPS (transactions per second) as opposed to the 1TPS that P2P long codes give you.

The TPS you receive depends on whether your brand and campaign meet various criteria set by carriers. Carriers assess what TPS you should receive in different ways, and your campaign will be limited by the lowest TPS available to you.

An example of a use case likely to receive a high trust score would be SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA). This is because consumers have asked for this traffic, they respond to it, and it’s safe and necessary.

Your throughput may also be based on your vetting score.

How do you get vetted?

Every carrier does this a little differently.

For example, in the United States:

  • Verizon is not currently doing any vetting but will allocate throughput in much the same way as it does for short codes.
  • AT&T will provide a base TPS based on the message class assigned after you submit your campaign registration to the Campaign Registry.
  • T-Mobile (Sprint) is basing throughput on a daily messaging quota for the brand rather than the individual campaign. So, if a brand has multiple campaigns, the daily messaging quota is split between them.


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Feb 16th, 2024
6 min read