10DLC: Texting Over Local Numbers
Registering your brand to send messages from a local phone number
What is 10DLC?
10DLC is an industry term for the shortened version of “10-digit long code”. Long-codes are phone numbers with a local area code like 555-555-1212. Alternatively, short-codes like “292929” are used to send text messages when they are promotional in nature, and toll-free numbers are used when organizations want to send more informational or engaging messages (this is what we primarily use at Text-Em-All) to larger audiences. Historically, local phone numbers have more restrictive messaging thresholds (can't send as many messages or as quickly at one time), stronger spam filters, and are associated with more personal (1-to-1) communications.
With the recent changes regarding 10DLC (local number) messaging, the carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) are requiring each company/organization to complete a registration process before they are approved to send messages from 10DLCs (local phone numbers). Starting October 1st, 2021, local numbers used for sending text messages will need to be registered.
How do I register my brand for 10DLC?
Carriers will now require that local numbers, used to send mass text messages, be registered. This requires the service provider (Text-Em-All) to complete a process to register your brand and campaign information that shows the carriers that your organization is sending acceptable messages.
The carriers will use this information to establish a trust score for your organization, which will determine what type of limitations (message speed/volume/filtering) apply to your messages. For example, a very small business or sole proprietor could be limited to 15 messages per minute, whereas a large business could send 2,400 messages per minute. A school may have a completely different threshold at 720 messages per minute. Some carriers are enforcing limits on the total number of text messages sent from a 10DLC number in a single day. This lack of consistency among the major cellular networks creates unnecessary complexity, but we will help you navigate the various rules and restrictions to ensure your messages are delivered successfully.
How does this impact my existing account?
If you’re currently sending messages via a toll-free number, your account will not be impacted. For customers who want to continue using a local phone number(s) for sending text messages, the process described above does carry additional expenses related to the setup/registration of your brand and campaigns. Some of these are one-time fees; others are recurring charges.
While carriers have designated a 3rd party called the TCR (The Campaign Registry) to be the central hub for registering 10DLC messaging campaigns, they are taking individual approaches to how they will charge and have not fully announced these costs. We anticipate having to charge an additional monthly fee to use a local phone number for texting once we have more details.
Why use toll-free messaging instead of local numbers and short-codes?
Today, the main advantage of toll-free messaging versus local messaging is the ability to send approved high-volume traffic, as well as receiving better deliverability information. Toll-free messaging is an approved business text messaging channel in the industry.
Local numbers are starting to be utilized for this, but you may experience deliverability issues like volume limits, blocking, and filtering when using local numbers for texting.
Toll-free messaging also has an advantage over local messaging in the accuracy of delivery information we receive about a message. Toll-free messaging supports handset or final delivery receipts (confirmation that the handset received the message), while local numbers receive delivery information based on whether the message was sent to the carrier or not.
One common misconception is that more people will consume your message if it’s being sent from their local area code. This was somewhat true with automated phone calls when recipients had a choice to answer a call or ignore it and let it go to voicemail. One of the biggest benefits of text messaging is deliverability because recipients don’t choose to ignore messages. The message gets delivered, shows up in a message list, and usually even has a preview. Regardless of whether the message is sent from a local or toll-free number, 98% of text messages are opened. The idea that local numbers are better for texting just doesn’t make sense. At Text-Em-All, we also provide customers with toll-free numbers at no additional cost if you don’t already have one.
Shortcodes are designed for large organizations that can afford the high cost ($1000+ per month) to own and promote one. Even then, the benefits when compared to toll-free are minimal. A shortcode also can’t support voice calls while toll-free numbers can. Since toll-free provides the same high-volume and improved deliverability, Text-Em-All recommends toll-free for all of our customers.