A2P 10DLC Quickstart Guide

    10DLC (10-digit long code) is a service offered by the US mobile network operators to explicitly allow application-to-person (A2P) SMS traffic over long code phone numbers. 10DLC numbers are standard US local phone numbers that are 10 digits long, including the area code. 10DLC is designed specifically for commercial A2P messaging.

    Benefits

    10DLC provides several benefits over alternatives such as unregistered long codes, toll-free numbers, and short codes for messaging campaigns (use cases).

    • Improved deliverability: Because use cases are preapproved by mobile network operators, messages sent using 10DLC numbers are more likely to reach their intended recipients.
    • Cost savings:
      • Short code numbers have higher monthly rates than 10DLC numbers. Businesses that can’t afford a short code or don’t send enough messages to warrant paying for one now have a more cost-effective alternative.
      • Businesses can use their current regular long codes for 10DLC campaigns. This means that businesses can send more messages from their existing phone numbers without having to pay for new ones.
    • High messaging throughput: 10DLC numbers can deliver up to 4,500 transactions per minute per operator, depending on the characteristics of the brand and campaign use case for which a 10DLC number is approved.
    • Transparent ecosystem: The registration process detects bad actors, resulting in higher response rates and a reduction in spam texts overall.
    • Lower surcharges, less filtering: If you have multiple low-volume use cases, you can register a mixed campaign and get your traffic approved beforehand, which will help you pay lower surcharges. Because your sample messages are already approved, less filtering will be applied to your messages.

    Who should use 10DLC?

    10DLC is the best phone number choice for most standard use cases, such as delivery notifications and two-factor authentication. They’re also best for businesses that want to have their messages come from familiar local numbers. 10DLC gives businesses the flexibility to create multiple campaigns (one for marketing, one for 2FA, for instance) — and if you have multiple use cases, you can create a mixed campaign.

    By comparison, toll-free numbers have lower maximum throughput and take slightly longer to get approval for. And while short codes offer higher maximum throughput than 10DLC, they have higher monthly rental costs and one-time setup fees and take several weeks to provision.

    Can I use long code without registering them as 10DLC numbers?

    You must register your long codes if you use them for A2P messaging.

    Not registering long codes has a number of repercussions that impact your costs and your effectiveness. Carriers can impose fines for using unregistered long codes for A2P traffic. Worse, unregistered traffic is subject to high carrier filtering, which can result in your messages not reaching their destination, wasting the per-message fee you pay for outgoing messages. Ultimately, continued use of unregistered long codes may result in your business losing access to SMS.

    10DLC specifics: brands, campaigns, and throughput

    Businesses have several options when it comes to registering 10DLC numbers. The options for brand and campaign registration impact messaging throughput and cost.

    10DLC brands: Starter vs. Standard

    A brand is a business entity that a 10DLC number represents.

    Plivo offers two kinds of brand registration: Starter, a low-cost option for individuals and small businesses, and Standard, for businesses that have a valid tax identification number/EIN. They differ in cost and capabilities.

    StarterStandard
    No registration feeOne-time registration fee of $4, plus an optional $40 fee for vetting to obtain higher throughput
    Monthly fee of $0.75 for a campaignMonthly $10 fee per campaign
    Limited to one campaign and five long code numbers per campaignLimited to 10 campaigns and 49 long code numbers per campaign
    Maximum throughput of 15 transactions per minute (TPM)Throughput varies depending on the brand and campaign’s score, up to a maximum of 4500 TPM

    10DLC campaign types

    A campaign represents the type of messages the brand intends to send. The terms “campaign” and “use case” are often used interchangeably. Brands may run campaigns of several types.

    TypeDetails
    2FAAny two-factor authentication with passcodes used to unlock accounts
    Account NotificationsNotification sent to account holders about changes in accounts
    Customer CareCustomer care interactions by the support and other customer-facing teams
    Delivery NotificationsUpdates about the delivery of products and services
    Fraud Alert MessagingNotifications of suspicious behavior identified the business
    Higher EducationMessages sent by colleges, universities, and other educational institutions
    MarketingCommunications related to time-bound events and sales
    Polling and VotingSurveys, polling, and voting campaigns used for non-political purposes
    Public Service AnnouncementMessages aimed at creating awareness about important topics
    Security AlertNotifications that alert users about a potential breach of systems

    In addition, businesses can register mixed use cases — a combination of two to five standard use cases — and low-volume mixed use cases, for brands with low throughput requirements.

    Standard and mixed use cases usually require no additional review. There are also special use cases such as 501(c)(3) charity, emergency services, K–12 education, political campaigns, and sweepstakes that may require additional approval, warrant additional fees, or have differences in throughput compared to standard use cases. Plivo does not support registration for special use cases yet.

    A note about vetting

    Standard brands can take advantage of an optional vetting process to get higher throughput. Carriers rely on an organization called The Campaign Registry (TCR) to evaluate each registration based on the information the registrant provides and assign a vetting score to each registration. Vetting scores are calculated by third-party vetting partners such as Aegis Mobile, Campaign Verify, and WMC Global to verify brands using an undisclosed algorithm that takes into account a brand’s past texting history, type of organization, and the type of messages the registrant plans to send. The vetting score determines the maximum throughput the carrier allows for a brand. Plivo recommends all brands choose vetting so that they can make the best use of 10DLC throughput.

    Messaging throughput

    Message rate limits and throughputs are based on the vetting score the business receives from TCR.

    US operators have defined messaging throughput tiers in terms of transactions per minute (TPM) and transactions per day (TPD). Throughput is allocated to campaigns depending on their vetting score.

    Standard registration — SMS

    Use Case

    Type

    Vetting ScoreAT&T TPMT-Mobile* TPMVerizon TPM
    Dedicated, Mixed/Marketing75–1004,5004,5004,500
    Dedicated, Mixed/Marketing50–742,4002,4002,400
    Dedicated, Mixed/Marketing1–49240240240
    Low-VolumeNA757575

    *Including T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro by T-Mobile

    Smaller carriers (<5% of US messaging volume) have not explicitly declared their throughput assignment details but should be in similar ranges for a given vetting score.

    Standard registration — MMS

    Unlike SMS throughput, which depends on vetting score and campaign type, MMS throughput is defined at a per-number level by the operators. Each number linked to a campaign can send up to 50 messages per minute per operator. For higher throughput, you can link multiple numbers in the same campaign.

    T-Mobile TPD restrictions

    T-Mobile (including Sprint) also has a limit on the total daily number of SMS and MMS messages (TPD) a brand can send toward its subscribers. Like TPM, this limit varies with the vetting score assigned to a brand. T-Mobile’s TPD limit takes into account both SMS and MMS messages; in other words, the daily limit is shared across SMS and MMS services.

    Use Case TypeVetting ScoreT-Mobile TPD
    All75–100200,000
    All50–7440,000
    All25–4910,000
    All1–242,000

    Starter registration — SMS

    Each operator allows a maximum TPM of 15. T-Mobile’s daily cap (TPD) is 1,000 per campaign.

    Getting started with 10DLC with Plivo

    Businesses can register their brands and campaigns through Plivo. Registration tells carriers who’s sending messages and what kinds of messages they’re sending, so they can protect end users from spam and unwanted messages. Once registration is complete, businesses can assign phone numbers to campaigns and start messaging.

    10DLC outline

    FAQs

    What if the throughput I’m assigned is insufficient for my messaging volume? Can I increase my throughput?

    Plivo recommends opting for vetting during the brand registration process to unlock higher throughputs. If even after your business is vetted, your allocated throughput (TPM) isn’t high enough, we recommend that you register additional campaigns to meet the throughput requirement for your messages.

    What unique constraints does T-Mobile have?

    You can check your T-Mobile TPD cap on the console. After you reach the limit T-Mobile allots to your brand, any more messages sent to T-Mobile by the same brand will fail for the rest of the day (days are defined as beginning in the Pacific (PT) time zone). Once a day is over, you can again send messages to T-Mobile.

    If your daily messaging volume toward T-Mobile is higher than the TPD you’ve been allocated, you can request T-Mobile conduct a Special Business Review (SBR) to gain access to higher daily volumes. If your campaign requires linking more than 49 numbers, T-Mobile requires you to submit a Number Pool Request (NPR). T-Mobile approval after an SBR or NPR is not guaranteed.

    T-Mobile charges a fee for each SBR or NPR. Plivo passes on carrier fees to its customers without any markup. Before submitting an SBR or NPR request, you must have a brand and campaign registered with TCR. To submit an SBR or NPR, please contact your customer success manager or our support team.