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.
10DLC provides several benefits over alternatives such as unregistered long codes, toll-free numbers, and short codes for messaging campaigns (use cases).
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 codes without registering them as 10DLC numbers?
You must register your long codes if you use them for A2P messaging.
Not registering long codes has 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.
The options for brand and campaign registration impact messaging throughput and cost.
A brand is a business entity that a 10DLC number represents. Standard brands cost a one-time registration fee of $4, plus an optional $40 fee for vetting to obtain higher throughput. They incur a montly $10 fee per campaign, with a limit of 100 campaigns and 49 long code numbers per campaign. Throughput varies depending on the brand and campaign’s score, up to a maximum of 4,500 TPM.
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.
|Any two-factor authentication with passcodes used to unlock accounts
|Notification sent to account holders about changes in accounts
|Customer care interactions by the support and other customer-facing teams
|Updates about the delivery of products and services
|Fraud Alert Messaging
|Notifications of suspicious behavior identified the business
|Messages sent by colleges, universities, and other educational institutions
|Communications related to time-bound events and sales
|Polling and Voting
|Surveys, polling, and voting campaigns used for non-political purposes
|Public Service Announcement
|Messages aimed at creating awareness about important topics
|Notifications 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.
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 type of organization and other company details. The vetting score determines the maximum throughput the carrier allows for a brand and its campaigns. TCR charges a one-time $40 fee for vetting a 10DLC brand and Plivo passes that cost on to customers. Plivo recommends brands pay for additional vetting if their messaging volume exceeds 6,000 per day.
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. For details, see our 10DLC support page.
Once you’ve registered your brands and campaigns you must link phone numbers to the campaigns. Once you’ve done that, messages sent from those numbers are considered 10DLC-registered and all the benefits of 10DLC apply.
See our documentation on the 10DLC registration process for more information.