What is 10DLC? Everything You Need To Know

May 20, 2024
What is 10DLC? Everything You Need To Know

This guide explains how 10DLC helps businesses reach US audiences, improve deliverability and throughput, and ensure compliance.

Many businesses struggle to send text messages en masse while meeting compliance restrictions. Mid-level and enterprise companies that often send texts at scale can face deliverability issues and frustrating red tape that prevent them from easily communicating with their audience. 

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: 10DLC. 

A 10-digit long code, or 10DLC, is a type of phone number used in business text messaging to send large volumes of SMS/MMS messages directly to customers. 10DLC numbers meet the telecom industry’s constantly evolving demand for solutions that are efficient, compliant, and cost-effective. 

In this guide, we’ll share more about how to register for a 10DLC number, the costs associated with it, how they can benefit your business, and some key considerations for using 10DLC in your next campaign. 

What is 10DLC? 

10 DLC (10-digit long code) numbers are local long code numbers that mobile network operators specifically approve for business messaging. When sent, 10DLC SMS messages show up as standard 10-digit numbers from the sender to the recipients.

10 DLC is used for application-to-peer (A2P) messaging. Here’s how this works: 

Feature A2P 10DLC
Definition Messaging category (type of communication) Phone number type (channel for communication)
Applicability A2P messaging can utilize various channels like short codes, toll-free numbers, or even social media platforms. 10DLC is a specific type of long code designed for A2P messaging.
Registration Not necessarily required for A2P messaging in general. Requires registration with mobile carriers and The Campaign Registry for compliance purposes.
Focus A2P emphasizes the nature of the communication (application to person). 10DLC highlights the specific channel used for A2P messaging (a local phone number format).

In comparison to other types of SMS codes, 10DLC offers a relatively more convenient and inexpensive way for businesses to text consumers with stronger credibility and deliverability. 

From a customer’s point of view, they get more relevant, trustworthy messages on their devices, and from the brand’s perspective, they benefit from a higher quality messaging service with better throughput levels in 10DLC. 

Learn the cost of setting up 10DLC numbers for your business here

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How to register and implement A2P 10DLC?

To implement 10DLC, you must register your 10DLC number with The Campaign Registry (TCR). It’s a central hub for A2P 10DLC messaging campaigns by North America’s major mobile carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and others to help businesses communicate with their consumers more efficiently and securely. 

At Plivo, we’re focused on making it as simple as possible for businesses to complete their 10DLC registration process promptly. Our 10DLC console experience delivers more visibility into your entire brand and campaign registration process. 

If you're a reseller planning to register a messaging campaign for a third party, you need to provide information about who will receive the messages. This includes details about their company and the messaging plans they have chosen.

To help you further, we created a step-by-step 10 DLC registration with all the important things you need to complete your 10DLC registration. 

Step 1: TCR vetting process

When a brand wants to send messages through a carrier, the maximum amount of messages they can send is determined by their vetting score. 

Third-party vetting partners, such as Aegis Mobile, Campaign Verify, and WMC Global, use undisclosed algorithms to compute vetting scores that verify brands based on the type of organization account and other company details.

To vet a brand and its campaigns, TCR charges a one-time fee of $40 for the brand's license plate number. This cost is passed on to customers by Plivo. If a brand's messaging volume exceeds 6,000 per day, Plivo recommends they pay for additional vetting.

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Step 2: 10DLC Costs 

For standard brands, there is a one-time registration fee of $4. Additionally, there is an optional fee of $40 for vetting, which allows for higher throughput. You will be charged a monthly fee of $10 per campaign, with a limit of 100 campaigns and 49 long code numbers per campaign.

Depending on the brand and campaign’s score, the throughput varies up to a maximum of 4,500 TPM. 

Step 3: Messaging throughputs 

US operators have set specific tiers for messaging throughput in terms of transactions per minute (TPM) and transactions per day (TPD). Based on your vetting score assigned by TCR, your messaging rate limits and throughput are determined. 

If you want to learn more, check out our 10DLC support page

What are the benefits of A2P 10DLC?

10DLC is one of the best ways for businesses to communicate with their consumers. It establishes a credible, authentic, direct line of contact between a business owner (you) and a 10DLC recipient (your audience). 

Here are some of the key benefits of 10DLC: 

1. Get higher messaging deliverability and low latency 

Since 10DLC numbers are authorized and vetted by TCR, messages sent via these numbers have a higher chance to pass through carrier spam filters as compared to messages sent via traditional long code numbers. 

As a result, 10DLC campaigns tend to have higher SMS open rates, better customer engagement, and higher conversion rates. 

For example, at Fluent, whose business revolves around customer acquisition, using Plivo as one of their cloud communications platforms for 10DLC helped their business meet its messaging goals. 

Additionally, 10DLC has low latency, meaning there’s minimal delay between sending a message and its delivery to the targeted recipient. This is critical for time-sensitive communications, ensuring that messages are received almost in real-time, enhancing the effectiveness of customer interactions and services. 

2. Reduce costs and drive higher ROI

10DLC provides a more affordable entry point for businesses to engage in A2P messaging. The lower cost barrier allows small and medium-sized businesses to effectively utilize SMS marketing and business communication. 

Besides, 10DLC can be used for both A2P and P2P (Person-to-Person) messaging, so businesses can consolidate their messaging activities under one number, reducing the need for multiple numbers and the associated costs.

3. Ensure better compliance

10DLC minimizes the risk of non-compliance penalties, which can be costly. By adhering to carrier and regulatory guidelines, businesses can protect their reputation and avoid potential fines. 

Additionally, using a compliant and carrier-approved messaging channel like 10DLC enhances a business’s reputation among consumers, which in turn, impacts brand affinity and customer retention. 

4. Provide a more localized experience 

Given 10DLC numbers maintain the standard 10-digit format familiar to users, they are perceived as local or regional numbers. Since a local phone number feels more familiar, it can increase the likelihood of message engagement, as recipients may be more inclined to trust and respond to messages from numbers that appear local. 

It also presents a great opportunity for businesses to tailor their messaging campaigns to local audiences, increasing the relevance of their campaigns. 

What are the limitations of A2P 10DLC?

While 10DLC comes with plenty of benefits, it also has a few limitations that could impact your business and specific needs. 

1. Lack of support for lengthy messages

If you frequently send long SMS messages to your audience, you might find 10DLC limiting. That’s because 10DLC systems may impose restrictions on the length of messages that can be sent. 

These restrictions may be challenging for companies trying to convey complex information or multiple calls to action within a single message. 

2. Appears like a regular phone number

One of the strengths of 10DLC — its appearance as a standard, local phone number — can also be a double-edged sword. This feature may also result in a lower perceived authority or prestige compared to messaging from short codes, which are often associated with large-scale brands or nationwide campaigns. 

For businesses seeking to establish a commanding brand presence, this might be seen as a drawback.

Business messaging: who should consider using 10DLC?

10DLC is an incredible solution packed with benefits, but certain businesses may find it more useful than others. Specifically —

1. Brands that need better control and flexibility over their messaging campaigns 

10DLC lets you manage campaigns with a high degree of specificity, from targeting and personalization to timing and frequency. You can create more meaningful, relevant campaigns that speak directly to your audience and leave a stronger impact. 

2. Brands seeking improved delivery rates and higher messaging throughput

For businesses that rely on SMS for time-sensitive communications—including financial institutions, healthcare providers, and emergency services—reaching your audience promptly is a critical, non-negotiable aspect of your communication strategy. 

10DLC’s improved deliverability and throughput rates ensure that messages promptly reach their intended recipients. 

3. Brands that need to meet compliance standards

10DLC provides a compliant messaging solution that can mitigate risk for businesses. 

The registration process for 10DLC involves vetting by carriers and adherence to industry standards, offering businesses peace of mind that their messaging practices are in line with legal and regulatory requirements. 

This is particularly important for businesses in highly regulated industries such as finance, healthcare, and education, where non-compliance can result in significant financial penalties.

Ready to improve your sender reputation with 10DLC? 

10DLC checks all the right boxes when it comes to SMS messaging campaigns. It ensures fast delivery speeds, higher throughput, stronger security, and compliance — all while being a scalable solution and an affordable option for businesses. 

As consumers’ demands change and businesses compete for their attention and engagement, being able to communicate in real-time securely will become more crucial; this is where 10DLC fits in. 

You can use the Plivo console or our SDKs (now in public beta) to register your brands or campaigns. Make sure you provide accurate information, as the TCR and carriers review it during the registration process. 

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1. Who needs to register for a 10DLC?

If you're a business looking to use A2P messaging services in the United States, it's important to register for a 10DLC number. It is crucial to comply with the carrier regulations to ensure that your messages get delivered to your intended audience efficiently.

2. What happens if I don’t register a 10DLC?

When you fail to properly register your 10DLC, there is a risk that messages may be blocked or flagged as spam. It can result in extra expenses and harm to your reputation as a sender. Ensure your messages are registered correctly to avoid such negative consequences.

3. How do I get a 10DLC number?

Businesses can obtain a 10DLC number through service providers like Plivo, which assist in the registration and setup process.

4. What is the difference between 10DLC and short codes?

Short codes are designed for high-volume messaging campaigns and offer faster delivery rates but come with a higher cost. 10DLC, on the other hand, provides a more affordable solution with improved deliverability and compliance. 

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

While toll-free numbers offer high-volume, two-way SMS messaging at a relatively low cost and enhance brand perception, they may not provide the same level of deliverability and compliance with carrier network’s messaging guidelines as 10DLC numbers. The latter are optimized by carrier networks for efficient, large-scale SMS campaigns and are compliant with mobile carriers' A2P messaging regulations.

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