What You Need to Know about 10DLC
Published on June 13, 2024

Are you a developer trying to use a 10-digit phone number that is being rejected even though you know the code is right? Check your logs, and if you see this, then this article is for you.

What is likely happening is that you’re missing a crucial step: registering your brand with your 10DLC number. In this blog, I will cover everything you need to know about 10DLC, whether you are a current or new Vonage customer or developer. I will also show you how to navigate the registration processes, avoid common issues, and make sure your application has working messaging functionality. Additionally, I will discuss migration solutions, including 10DLC, TFN, and dedicated short codes, for those who need to transition from shared short codes. Ready to get those messages delivered? Let's freaking go!

So, What Is 10DLC?

10DLC is a standard 10-digit phone number used for application-to-person (A2P) messaging in the United States. Unlike traditional long codes typically used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, 10DLC was designed to handle higher volumes and better compliance for A2P messaging while still looking like a local phone number.

Example: (720) 555-1234 Use Case: A local restaurant might use the 10DLC number (720) 555-1234 to send promotional offers, reservation confirmations, and customer updates. Until the restaurant registers its brand, it won’t be able to send messages due to the 10DLC rules in place now.

Understanding Short Codes vs. 10DLC

Before the introduction of 10DLC, businesses primarily relied on the following option for A2P messaging:

Short Codes

Short codes are 5- to 6-digit numbers used specifically for high-volume A2P messaging. They are easy to remember and are typically used for marketing campaigns, alerts, and notifications. Short codes can be either dedicated (used by a single business) or shared (used by multiple businesses).

Example: 12345
Use Case: A retail store might use the short code 12345 to send promotional offers or alerts to customers who have opted in.

Transition from Short Codes to 10DLC

What if I'm already using short codes?

If you're a Vonage customer, please stop. 🙏🏻 Here's why:

T-Mobile and AT&T’s new code of conduct prohibits the use of shared originators, meaning shared short codes will no longer be allowed for A2P messaging. Customers already using dedicated short codes are not affected by these 10DLC changes.

Migration Solutions

For Vonage customers using shared short codes, here are the available options to migrate your SMS traffic:

  • 10DLC

  • Toll-Free SMS Number

  • Dedicated Short Code

Vonage customers using our Shared Short Code API must migrate to either our SMS API or Verify API.

Long Codes (P2P)

Traditional 10-digit phone numbers were initially designed for person-to-person (P2P) communication. Some businesses use these long codes for A2P messaging. Still, because they were intended for something other than high-volume messaging, they faced limitations such as lower throughput and higher chances of being blocked or filtered by carriers.

Example: (303) 555-6789 Use Case: A small business might use a local 10-digit phone number like (303) 555-6789 to send appointment reminders or customer service messages, although this could have been better for high-volume A2P messaging.

Toll-Free Numbers (TFN)

These are 800-series numbers that can be used for voice and text messaging. They were an alternative to short codes for businesses wanting to send A2P messages, offering the benefit of being free for the recipient to contact. However, they also have limitations on throughput compared to short codes.

Example: 1-800-555-1234 Use Case: A national customer service hotline might use a toll-free number like 1-800-555-1234 to send order confirmations, customer service responses, or support updates.

It's worth clarifying that toll-free numbers (8xx numbers) are also classified as 10DLC numbers, although their registration process differs from other 10-digit numbers. Toll-free numbers (TFNs) can also send messages to consumers and require registration to avoid message filtering.

Vonage TFN To-Do's

All purchased Toll-Free Numbers (TFNs) must be "verified" to ensure SMS and MMS message delivery, even for testing purposes. Unverified TFNs will not be able to send or receive messages.

Verify one (1) TFN: After you have purchased a TFN Vonage phone number, request verification by filling out this Google form.

Verify 5 or more TFN: Request verification in bulk by downloading the Bulk Verification Sheet and emailing it to verified.toll.free@vonage.com. Include "VTF" and "Company Name" in the Subject line when submitting.

All submissions must include the content provider's company name, address, contact name, email and phone. After the request has been processed, you will be contacted with a status update at the email address provided. If a reseller contact email address is included, then Vonage will only email the reseller.

Why Would You Want to Use 10DLC?

Here are some reasons businesses would want to adopt 10DLC:

Flexibility With 10DLC, businesses have the flexibility to use their existing business numbers or local numbers for messaging. This allows for a more personal feel in communications, as customers are more likely to recognize and trust a local or familiar number. This personal touch can enhance customer relationships and improve engagement.

Send More Messages One of the standout benefits of 10DLC is its capacity for high-volume messaging. Companies that register 10DLC campaigns can send up to 75 messages per second. This high throughput is particularly beneficial for businesses running large-scale marketing campaigns, sending out notifications, or handling customer service communications, ensuring that messages are delivered promptly and efficiently.

Better Deliverability 10DLC numbers are registered with carriers, which significantly improves the deliverability of messages. When businesses use registered 10DLC numbers, carriers are more likely to recognize and approve the messages, reducing the chances of them being blocked or filtered as spam. This ensures that important communications, such as promotions, alerts, and updates, reach their intended recipients without unnecessary delays or disruptions.

How to Get a 10DLC Number

To clarify, any regular (10-digit) U.S. phone number is a 10DLC number. You just need to purchase one, set it up, and get approval to send messages by following these next steps.

How to Purchase a 10DLC Number From Vonage

If you already have one, you can skip to the next step to learn how to register your brand and actually “make it work.”

  1. Sign up for a Vonage Developer account.

  2. Go to your API dashboard and locate 'Numbers' on the left-hand side.

Vonage Dashboard APIVonage Dashboard API

3. Click on Numbers for the dropdown and choose 'Buy Numbers'.

4. Your settings should look like mine: Country (United States +1) Feature (SMS and/or MMS) Type (Any) Click 'Search' and 'Buy' a number. If this is your first purchased number, we have already provided some free credit so you can play around with our APIs.

How to Register Your Brand

Customers using the Vonage SMS API to send messages from a +1 Country Code 10-Digit Long Code to US networks must register a brand and campaign to obtain approval for sending messages. If this applies to you, here are the steps required to move to 10DLC:

  1. Register your brand

  2. Request brand vetting

  3. Register a campaign

  4. Link a number to a campaign

Join the Party!

Understanding and properly setting up your 10DLC or Toll-Free Number (TFN) is required to make your Vonage phone number work for application-to-person (A2P) messaging. In this blog, I showed you how to navigate the registration processes, avoid common pitfalls, and make sure your messages are successfully delivered. Whether you're a new or existing Vonage customer, taking the time to set up your 10DLC or TFN correctly will boost your messaging capabilities and improve communication with your users. If you enjoyed this blog (or didn't), please let me know by tagging me on your post on X, formerly known as Twitter. Feel free to follow my team and join our community Slack channel. Until next time!

Other Resources

Diana PhamDeveloper Advocate

Diana is a developer advocate at Vonage. She likes eating fresh oysters.

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