Get started sending SMS traffic to the United States with a 10DLC number

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Get started sending SMS traffic to the United States with a 10DLC number

If you want to send SMS traffic to countries like Denmark, Germany, Spain and so forth it is usually pretty straightforward. If you wish to send messages to the United States on the other hand, you’ll find that you first need to complete a series of steps.

Let’s start by looking at why that is the case. Today, the US, with its over 330 million inhabitants that make up the world’s largest economy, is a highly lucrative market. This has also been noticed by scammers, and today the US has major challenges with SMS spam and phishing. 

US citizens received as many as 16.9 spam messages per month on average in 2021 – up from 14.7 in 2020, 10.6 in 2019 and 8.5 in 2018. Furthermore, 60 million Americans (23% of the population) lost 500 dollars in average to phone scams in 2021. These staggering numbers gives you a good idea of how widespread and growing the problem is. 

The large telecommunications companies in the US (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) have tried to stop the scams in various ways, among other by making it more difficult to send SMS messages to recipients located in the US. 

That leads us to the purpose of this blog post where we will explain how you break through the barrier and get started sending SMS traffic to the US. 

Overall, there are three options to choose from, which are toll-free numbers, short codes, and last but not least the new 10DLC numbers, which we will focus on here.

SMS campaign can be run either with toll free numbers or short codes

Use of toll-free numbers and short codes

Below we will briefly review the two other options in addition to 10DLC numbers to provide some perspective. The possibility of using long codes that are intended for P2P traffic is not included, as this method is being phased out.


Toll-free numbers

A popular solution until now has been the use of toll-free numbers, which has been a cheap way to get started quickly. For a low price you are able to get a number you can send SMS traffic to phone numbers throughout North America from.

However, the method also has its limitations, and due to the many filters that the telecommunications companies have set up, you cannot be absolutely sure that all your messages will be delivered. The number of SMS messages per second can also vary.  

Please note that a new demand states that if you meet one or more criteria, then the toll-free number must be registered to your company and to a specific use case in the same manner as 10DLC numbers. See the list of criteria here. 


Short codes

Businesses and organizations that want to send large volumes to mobile users in North America can use short codes of five or six digits, where the ceiling on the number of SMS messages, as well as the delivery rate, is significantly higher. Experience shows a cap of 500 SMS/s with this method – approx. 1.8 million per hour. It is also the most stable solution you can choose.

The start-up cost for acquiring a short code is approx. $5,000, and afterwards between $850 and $1,500 per month to rent the short code. In addition, a large amount of documents must be filled out that clearly explains the purpose of using the short code, after which it takes 8-12 weeks to get the application approved.

This solution is therefore mainly relevant for large organisations, where the costs and time consumption match what is gained from the SMS broadcasts.

Many SMS platforms have previously offered their customers the option of using shared short codes, but today this solution has been phased out to give operators better control over what is sent through the short codes.

Example of SMS communication from an American auto shop

10DLC numbers

10DLC is an abbreviation for “10 Digit Long Codes”, and was introduced in 2021, as a new industry standard for those who want to send A2P SMS traffic to North America where the recipients will see a 10-digit number in the sender field. Among other things, this method replaces the use of P2P long codes. Note that if you are using P2P long codes today, it is possible to migrate them to 10DLC.

10DLC can be seen as a good compromise between toll-free numbers and short codes in terms of volume and budget. It is thus especially useful for those companies that wish to send large volumes on a monthly basis, but not so large that a short code would be a better fit. 

When using 10DLC, we see that the delivery rate is higher, as the numbers are pre-approved by the telecommunications companies. The delivery speed is a lot faster as well than with P2P long codes and toll-free numbers. Note that the speed depends on the carrier though as well as other factors such as message class (AT&T) and risk score (T-mobile).

A 10DLC number is ideal if you want to send SMS traffic continuously, e.g. two-factor confirmation codes, reminders and order confirmations. If you need to send large marketing campaigns or disseminate information to millions of users in a short time, a short code will be more suitable.

Our support is ready to help you acquire a 10DLC number

How to acquire a 10DLC number

From the perspective of the telecommunications companies, the advantage of a 10DLC number is that they can see precisely which companies that have sent which SMS messages. That is because a 10DLC number can only be used by one sender and for one specific purpose.

To acquire a 10DLC number, simply contact your Key Account Manager or sales on the chat or, after which we will help you with the entire application process. We can of course also help you acquire toll-free numbers and short codes if needed.

The individual telecommunications companies in the United States have different requirements for the information they need. This usually includes a statement, company name, contact information, URLs, your purpose of using the number including a description of the use case as well as a description of the campaign. As mentioned, we will help make sure that the application is successfully submitted.