A2P 10DLC: Everything You Need to Know


Today, businesses constantly seek effective ways to engage customers for improved conversions and client retention. One of the most powerful tools is Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, which allows businesses to send automated messages directly to their customers’ mobile phones.

As the demand for A2P messaging grows, so does the need for reliable and efficient systems to manage these communications. Therefore, A2P 10DLC (10-digit long code) has proven to be a game-changing standard designed to enhance the reliability, security, and effectiveness of business messaging.

A2P 10DLC offers a robust solution for businesses of all sizes. It provides a local touch with the appearance of standard phone numbers while supporting high-volume messaging needs.

This system improves message deliverability and engagement and ensures compliance with stringent telecommunications authorities’ regulations. With The Campaign Registry (TCR) integration, businesses can seamlessly navigate A2P 10DLC registration and compliance complexities.

Whether you’re a small business looking to enhance customer engagement or a large enterprise seeking to streamline your messaging strategies, A2P 10DLC is a critical component of modern business communication.

This article aims to delve deeper into the ins and outs of A2P 10DLC, such as:

  • Introduction to A2P 10DLC
  • Benefits and Limitations of A2P 10DLC
  • Process and Compliance

Did it pique your interest? Let’s dive right in.

What Is A2P?

A2P stands for Application-to-Person messaging, which involves a software application sending messages to a mobile phone user. These messages are typically one-way, meaning the recipient is not expected to reply.

A2P messaging enables businesses to automate customer text message communication, such as account notifications, delivery alerts, promotional offers, and two-factor authentication security codes.

What Is 10DLC?

10DLC stands for 10-digit long code, a phone number businesses in North America use for A2P messaging.

Businesses utilize 10DLCs to send high volumes of messages, including promotional messages, special offers, and customer updates.

The advantage of 10DLCs is that they appear as local phone numbers, making business communications, text message marketing, and bulk messaging seem more trustworthy.

Moreover, 10DLCs support two-way messaging and voice calls.

What Is A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC is a messaging standard that allows businesses to send A2P SMS messages using a standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone number.

In the United States, businesses use A2P 10DLC to send mobile users authenticated and secure SMS or MMS messages.

Developed by phone carriers, this system enhances messaging reliability and security while combating spam and fraudulent activity.

Essentially, A2P 10DLC ensures that text messages are authenticated by the provider and routed through a software interface (such as a web, desktop, or mobile app).

This standard verifies the legitimacy of the message source and helps prevent spam and fraud.

Combining the power of A2P messaging with the versatility of a 10DLC offers a robust, scalable solution for SMS business communication.

Businesses can send messages using several options, including shortcodes, toll-free numbers, and 10DLC numbers, to implement A2P messaging.

Toll-free Numbers vs. 10DLC

Below is a table outlining the difference between tol-free numbers and 10DLC:

Feature Toll-free Numbers 10DLC
Purpose A2P Messaging A2P Messaging
Appearance Generic (e.g., 1-800) Local phone number
Engagement Typically lower Higher due to local appearance
Cost Varies, generally higher $15 to $30 per month
Message Cost Varies by carrier Fraction of a penny per message
Two-way Messaging Yes Yes
Voice Calls Yes Yes

Short Code Numbers vs. 10DLC

Here is a table outlining the difference between short code numbers and 10DLC:

Feature Short Code Numbers 10DLC
Purpose Large marketing campaigns Flexible for various campaigns
Availability Difficult to obtain Easier to obtain
Cost $1,000+ per month $15 to $30 per month
Spam Filtering Higher chance of being filtered Lower chance of being filtered
Two-way Messaging No Yes
Voice Calls No Yes

How Does A2P 10DLC Work?

The new A2P 10DLC system requires businesses to meet two essential requirements:

  • Brand Registration: Businesses must identify themselves to the carrier networks.
  • Campaign Registration: Businesses must register the type of messages they are sending, such as notifications.

Registration is completed through specific platforms, which integrate with The Campaign Registry (TCR) to fulfill carrier requirements and streamline businesses’ onboarding processes.

The Importance of 10DLC Compliance A2P 10DLC establishes a fully automated text messaging ecosystem that integrates with existing business systems, reducing manual effort and enhancing customer engagement.

Why was A2P 10DLC created?

A2P 10DLC is an obvious choice for forward-thinking businesses, attracting widespread adoption, including by those with malicious intentions.

As consumers were inundated with spam messages and text scams from unknown senders, they grew wary of all SMS communications, even legitimate ones.

Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted stronger regulations to protect consumers from phishing attacks and other security risks, making opt-outs mandatory.

In response, major North American mobile carriers established The Campaign Registry (TCR), a third-party organization that oversees 10DLC registration.

TCR maintains a central database tracking which businesses send messages from these numbers and the types of messages being sent.

What are the requirements for A2P 10DLC?

Businesses must now get approval from TCR before sending messages. The A2P 10DLC registration process consists of two parts:

Businesses must identify themselves with the carrier networks. They must also provide examples of the messages they plan to send and demonstrate proof that consumers have opted in to receive their text messages.

This vetting process ensures businesses are legitimate and comply with regulations set forth by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).

Brands must familiarize themselves with the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices to demonstrate their compliance and receive approval.

Who Needs to Register for A2P 10DLC?

Anyone sending SMS/MMS messages over a 10-digit long code number from an application to US phone numbers must register for A2P 10DLC.

Carriers consider all SMS traffic from many messaging platforms as A2P, requiring registration, even if you’re not a business.

How Carriers Ensure Compliance

When TCR verifies that a business is legitimate, it assigns a 10DLC number with a trust score.

Carriers use this trust score to prioritize message delivery. Higher trust scores lead to higher delivery rates and message throughput (messages sent per second), while lower trust scores result in lower delivery rates and throughput.

Consequences for Non-Compliance All mobile carriers began blocking texts from unregistered 10DLC numbers on August 31, 2023 (the original deadline).

Carriers also impose hefty fines and non-compliance fees on businesses that fail to gain TCR approval.

For instance, T-Mobile imposes penalties of up to $10,000 per non-compliance incident.

What are the Benefits of A2P 10DLC for Businesses?

A2P 10DLC is a game-changer for businesses aiming to enhance their messaging strategies.

Here are several benefits of texting with an A2P 10DLC number:

1. Improved Deliverability

Unlike short codes that often get caught in spam filters, 10DLC messages have a better chance of reaching your audience’s inbox.

Thanks to the reputation scores assigned by The Campaign Registry (TCR), the higher your score, the more likely mobile carriers will prioritize your messages.

With improved throughput, you can send more messages per second, ensuring your time-sensitive notifications and promotions arrive on time.

2. Compliance with Regulations

A2P 10DLC ensures businesses comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) regulations.

The vetting process ensures that only authentic businesses using 10DLC numbers can send messages, proving that the content is consensual and comes from a genuine source. This is a win-win for everyone involved.

3. Increased Engagement

Customers are more likely to trust and engage with messages from a local phone number. It feels familiar and authentic, like receiving a text from a favorite restaurant or doctor’s office.

With improved deliverability and reliability, your customers will always be in the loop, fostering positive interactions and loyalty.

Two-way messaging allows customers to initiate conversations and interact with your brand, just like in person or through customer support, showcasing your customer-first approach.

4. Cost-Effectiveness and Versatility

A2P 10DLC offers incredible versatility and flexibility for various use cases. You can send clever SMS campaigns and add two-way messaging and voice calls to your customer engagement strategy.

It is cost-effective compared to short codes and toll-free numbers, making A2P 10DLC accessible and scalable for businesses of all sizes.

This allows you to tailor campaigns to your needs and goals without breaking the bank.

How To Register for A2P 10DLC?

Businesses do not interact directly with The Campaign Registry (TCR). Instead, their communications provider completes the registration process and secures a 10DLC number for them.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Choose a Campaign Service Provider (CSP)

A campaign service provider (CSP) works with multiple brands to create and launch SMS messaging campaigns. They’re the “A” in A2P, an application or software provider your business uses to text.

When comparing business text messaging tools, look for a reputable provider with strong support and comprehensive business voice and messaging capabilities.

Your provider should have a form for you to complete so they can handle the registration process on your behalf.

Step 2: Register Your Brand

Registering your business with the TCR identifies your brand to the carrier networks and verifies your company’s legitimacy.

Your service provider will submit details about your organization, including your Tax ID, entity type (non-profit, public, private, government), and business type (LLC, sole proprietor, or corporation).

Step 3: Campaign and Use Case Registrations

Carriers need to understand the types of messages your business intends to send and the frequency and purpose of each messaging campaign.

Your proposed campaign details will include:

  • Use case (standard campaigns or special use campaigns)
  • Message content and attributes
  • Three to five sample/example messages
  • Opt-in information (proof of verification and consent from consumers)
  • Consider how you plan to use SMS for business communication, such as:
  • Customer support and follow-up
  • Marketing offers like discounts and coupons
  • Reminder texts (appointments, upcoming due dates, etc.)
  • Surveys, polls, and feedback about recent experiences

Step 4: Verification and Vetting by TCR and Mobile Carriers

TCR will review your application to ensure compliance. They may request additional information or clarification if necessary.

Once approved, your brand will be registered, and your campaign use case will be reviewed and scored. You will then receive your 10DLC number and link it to your campaign.

You can link multiple 10DLCs to a single campaign, but each campaign requires a unique 10DLC.

Step 5: Testing and Launch

After approval, your service provider works with mobile networks to update their databases with your confirmed 10DLC number.

It will be added to a shared industry database and go live for testing. Ensure your numbers operate seamlessly and comply with carrier requirements.

Fix any issues during testing to guarantee a smooth customer experience.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, A2P 10DLC represents a significant advancement in business messaging, offering a reliable, secure, and compliant solution for engaging with customers via text. Despite some limitations, such as registration requirements and campaign restrictions, A2P 10DLC provides businesses with a powerful tool to communicate effectively with their audience.

By adhering to the registration process and maintaining compliance with industry standards, businesses can harness the full potential of A2P 10DLC to enhance customer engagement, improve deliverability rates, and foster trust and loyalty among their customer base.

With the right approach and understanding of A2P 10DLC, businesses can unlock new communication opportunities, streamline operations, and ultimately drive success in an increasingly digital world.


What are some limitations of A2P 10DLC?

Below are some limitations of A2P 10DCL.

  • Registration Requirement: Businesses must register their A2P 10DLC numbers with mobile carriers before sending messages. Carriers will block unregistered 10DLC numbers, preventing message delivery. Moreover, using unregistered 10DLC numbers can result in fines and penalties from carriers.
  • Campaign Restrictions: Compared to shortcodes, the types of messages that can be sent may be limited.
  • Geographical Limitation: A2P 10DLC only applies to the United States.

How long does the A2P 10DLC process typically take?

Completing the registration forms with your Campaign Service Provider (CSP) only takes a few minutes.

However, the vetting and approval times can vary depending on your CSP, carrier review times, and current demand.

With the high demand for registration with The Campaign Registry (TCR), the approval process may take two to four weeks or longer.

What does it mean to be 10DLC compliant?

A business is considered 10DLC compliant when it registers its local phone numbers for legitimate text message campaigns with its communications provider and The Campaign Registry (TCR).

This ensures the business’s messaging practices are legitimate and adhere to required standards.

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