What is 10DLC for Business Text Messaging?

Nov 16, 2022 · 5 min read
What is 10DLC for Business Text Messaging?

10DLC stands for 10-Digit Long Code, basically US 10-digit local phone numbers approved by mobile network operators for Application to Person (A2P) text messaging.

If you are using text messaging for your business, you might have heard about 10DLC, and new confusing requirements and details surrounding 10DLC. Here we will try to give a simple explanation of what it means for a business, especially for a business having a low volume of commercial text messages, and use or planning to use Twilio SMS service.

Up until now, there were primarily 3 options for business text communication:

  1. Short codes: 5 or 6 digit special numbers capable of sending millions of messages per day at a high rate. They can be very expensive, plus from customer’s point of view, they do not feel normal for a two-way conversation. They are very good for large size corporations with a very high volume, but not a good fit for small scale messaging. 10DLC is not applicable for short codes.

  2. Toll-free long codes: Toll free numbers with delivery rate much lower than short codes but higher than local numbers (long codes). This is a good affordable option for businesses with lower volumes. One problem with toll-free numbers is that two-way text messaging may seem odd and impersonal to the customers. 10DLC is not applicable for toll-free numbers.

  3. Local long codes: Standard 10-digit local numbers. This is the most familiar number format for the customers, as well as the most affordable one for the businesses. One major down side of the local number is that it allows sending only 1 message per second. Platforms like Twilio and Sociocs have built message queueing mechanisms so that you don’t have to worry about the message sending rate, however, it still limits number of messages you can send in a day. 10DLC is applicable for local numbers.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC is a system which allows sending verified business messaging traffic using standard 10-digit local numbers. Mobile networks are participating in the system and there is a central registry called The Campaign Registry (TCR) which is acting as a reputation authority for this communication. This is applicable only to businesses sending text messages to the US numbers using local numbers.

10DLC registration

Businesses are required to be registered (as brands) and approved by TCR for sending business messages using 10-digit local numbers. As of now, businesses can send messages without registration but there is a possibility that it won’t be allowed in the future. Here is the Twilio guideline for registration.

What is a “Campaign”?

A campaign is the categorization of the type of the messages the business is planning to send. Don’t confuse it with the marketing campaigns. This is equally applicable to both transactional and promotional messaging. Once your business brand is registered and approved for 10DLC, you are also supposed to register a campaign, and link your phone number(s) to that campaign. Your band details combined with the campaign type will determine maximum message throughput and carrier surcharge applicable for your messages.

Benefits of 10DLC

Higher SMS volume

After the registration, your business can potentially send messages at a higher throughput than the unregistered local phone numbers currently being used.

Lower cost

Unregistered local numbers get charged a higher carrier surcharge than 10DLC registered numbers. For example, AT&T charges $0.002 per registered outbound SMS message segment but charges $0.004 per unregistered outbound SMS message segment. In case you are unaware, this is in addition to per message charged incurred from your SMS service provider (e.g. Twilio).

Improved delivery

10DLC numbers are pre-approved by the mobile carriers for business messaging. Messages sent from 10DLC numbers are more likely to reach the recipient than the unregistered local numbers. Unregistered numbers will have a higher risk of getting filtered in the future.

Transparent ecosystem

10DLC registration requirements create a barrier to entry for spammers and bad actors, but helps genuine businesses in being more trustworthy with their text communication with their customers.

Should I register?

Yes, unless you are just testing or working on a proof of concept (POC). 10DLC registration is beneficial when you want to regularly send messages to your customers.

How do I register?

Each SMS provider has its own implementation for registration. Here is the guideline for Twilio. At the time of writing this article, “Low-Volume Standard” seems to be the most efficient way with Twilio (if you intend to send fewer than 6,000 message segments/day).

What if I don’t register?

You will pay higher carrier fees and would have a higher risk of messaging getting filtered. In the future, sending business text messages from an unregistered long code number may stop completely.

Do I need to purchase new long code numbers after 10DLC registration?

No. You can link existing numbers with your campaigns after your business brand is approved.

Do I have to make any changes to my channel on Sociocs after 10DLC registration?

No. Your currently connected Twilio channel will keep working without requiring any changes, regardless of whether your register for 10DLC or not.

10DLC is still work in progress. For more granular details of specific requirements and charges, visit this link.

Check out our blog post the importance of SMS in customer communication to see how your business can benefit from text messaging.

Check out our blog post using Sociocs as a Twilio Front-end to see how you can combine powers of Twilio SMS back-end and Sociocs front-end for your business.