On Tuesday April 5th, we hosted a live Q&A session regarding A2P 10DLC. The full replay is available here and we’ve summarized the main points further down this blog post.
Q. How do I know if I need the Standard or Starter Plan?
A. It depends on how many numbers you’re using, how many of those numbers you use for texting, and your general text volume.
The majority of smrtPhone users will be able to use the Starter Plan, which comes pre-configured as a mixed-use campaign. Starter Plans allow for up to five phone numbers to be used at a time, up to 3,000 text messages per day, and one mixed-use campaign (this allows for a larger range of types of texts, such as marketing promotions or conversations with clients).
This article goes into much further detail about the differences between the two plans. The basic gist is that the Standard Plan comes into play for businesses with high text volume and/or over 5 phone numbers used for texting at any given time.
Keep in mind: if you have more than 5 phone numbers but use a Starter Plan and a contact sends you a text to a phone number you have not added to your A2P registration, your response will be considered an unregistered text. We anticipate that some clients will opt for a Standard Plan but only have a single mixed use campaign where they add all of their phone numbers.
It’s very easy to upgrade to a Standard Plan from the Starter Plan if your needs change.
Q. When I register, will they need personal information?
A. Yes. For example, you will be asked for your phone number, and they are looking for your personal phone number, not your smrtPhone-issued business numbers.
Remember that this entire A2P process is to establish trust with the carriers that you are a legitimate business owner who will not abuse texting. Therefore, this registration process is about establishing a link between you and the carriers so that they can issue you a Trust Score. This Trust Score is attached to your business’ EIN and you as an authorized representative. The phone number used for registration verification should be a personal one.
Q. If I use an automation partner to create campaigns and send texts, do I still have to register for A2P through smrtPhone?
A. Yes. For your smrtPhone phone numbers to be considered A2P registered, you must register through smrtPhone. For phone numbers you use on other platforms, you will have to register with those applications as well.
For anyone who uses a CRM developer to help automate sending texts using smrtPhone, your smrtPhone A2P registration should cover it.Regardless of whether those phone numbers are used by a third-party to send your texts, the numbers themselves are linked to your business, and that’s how the carriers know to trust and deliver those messages.
Any phone number you use for business purposes should be registered via A2P, whether it is a smrtPhone number or one you use on a different system.
Q. Once I’ve registered specific phone numbers, how easy is it to swap them out for other numbers?
A. Very easy! You can swap numbers in and out of a campaign whenever you need to, from a simple drop-down list of all your purchased numbers. This applies for the single Start Plan mixed use campaign or any of your Standard Plan campaigns.
Q. How is a campaign defined?
A. When you register a campaign, you’re communicating to the carriers what type of messages you’ll be sending.
This is much more integral to the registration process when you have a Standard Plan. When you utilize a Starter Plan, you will have one campaign that is mixed-use.
With a Standard Plan, whatever business texts you plan on sending – whether automated, templated, or conversational – will be part of deciding what campaign type you need. You will be required to submit examples of the text messages you will be sending as part of that campaign.
For instance, are you sending two-factor authentication text messages? Are you sending political messages? Are you sending mass marketing messages? Once you’ve established a type, the messages then have to fit that structure or they’ll be flagged.
Mixed-use campaigns require the highest level of monthly maintenance ($10/mo), because they’re more flexible and cover multiple type. Texts such as two-factor authentication that always send the same template message are less expensive ($2/mo).
For more information on Campaigns read this documentation article >>
Q. So if I have a mixed-use campaign, I can essentially text whatever I want?
A. Nope! This is a great time to remind everyone that all messages, even once registered for A2P, are still obligated to go by TCPA and DNC rules. Your text messages still require opt-in or an established previous business relationship to be considered legitimate.
Every state has slightly different rules regarding consent, so smrtPhone recommends you check with lawyers and local state law to confirm your constraints. Here’s an article about keeping your text messages compliant, and remember that if your text messaging breaks these rules, you could get flagged by the FCC or shut down entirely by carriers.
Q. What does it mean if I get an error stating they were unable to verify one of my authorized representatives?
A. The Trust Center business profile and the A2P registration require two authorized representatives. These individuals must be on the business incorporation documents. “Authorized” must be from a legal perspective, not just someone you give permissions to behind the scenes.
For some smaller companies, this creates an issue if there is only one authorized representative. Putting in the same person twice will most likely lead to a rejection.
We recommend that if you can’t put in two unique individuals, reach out to customer support, who help flag your application for manual review. This is easier with Starter Plans, but still possible with Standard Plans. Please keep in mind that carriers are still ironing out the logistics of this A2P registration in real time, so hopefully the 1 vs. 2 representative issue will be solved soon.
Q. I don’t have a dedicated website that matches the company name I’m trying to register in the Trust Center. Will this be a problem?
A. Most likely yes. We have observed situations where not having a website that matches the name of your business caused a registration to be rejected.
From our understanding of the A2P process, the carrier’s first phase of weeding out bad actors is to use basic algorithms to reject what they consider to be red flags, and a mismatched website may be one of those flags.
smrtPhone’s Support team can help you if this occurs. Reach out to customer support if you’ve been rejected, and we can work with the carrier to explain the discrepancy. It’s frustrating, but the carriers are trying their best to block unethical texting, and we will help our customers prove they’re legitimate businesses.
Q. What do I do if I’m rejected for an unknown EIN, even though my EIN is accurate?
A. Some users have found that they are getting rejected for not having a valid EIN, even though their EIN is very valid.
The issue seems to be that a specific service to validate EINs is being used that isn’t fully comprehensive. It may require you to look-up and validate your EIN with a service called HIPAASpace. The validation process is simple: email proof of your government-issued EIN to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a carrier-required portion of the registration, and not something that smrtPhone has any control over.
Q. Do I have to get my application accepted before I register a campaign?
A. Yes, to start a new campaign, you need to be verified in the Trust Center and registered for A2P.
As we outlined above, some of the rejections that are taking place are due to the carriers unfairly flagging businesses that are legitimate, due to software that generalizes by nature. You may need smrtPhone to intervene on your behalf to help prove your legitimacy. This is an unfortunate part of the process that smrtPhone can’t control except to be responsive and available to assist our customers every step of the way.
Q. What if I don’t like my Trust Score?
A. Your trust score is something that is assigned to you based on your brand registration for the Standard Plan. It’s based on the information the 3rd party verification providers have. So, you go through the process of registering and are disappointed by your Trust Score? Don’t stress – it happens!
Remember that the A2P process is brand new for everyone – not just businesses registering, but the carriers who are implementing it. They’ve developed algorithms that are meant to penalize bad actors, but sometimes those algorithms unfairly snag legitimate businesses. Keep in mind that many new businesses, due to not having a long track record, might be given a lower school by default.
Your Trust Score can affect how quickly your texts are received and how many you can send, but a low number doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold back your business. You should look at the limits and decide if you can keep business as usual at that level.
If you decide that you want to appeal your Trust Score, we can help you with the appeal process: just reach out to the Support team to learn more.
Q. Does this A2P process only apply to US numbers?
A. Right now, yes. A2P is for texting US numbers. That being said, carriers are extremely concerned about filtering out bad text messages for the betterment of their consumers, and some version of this process is expected in Canada and Europe at some point. A2P is here to stay.
Q. Is there a step-by-step guide to help me register?
A. Yes! Here’s an overview of what A2P is, and a link to all of our documentation surrounding this topic. smrtPhone’s customer support team is available via chat weekdays from 9 AM to 9 PM ET, and are happy to assist with any and all A2P questions.
Our last parting advice is to remember that A2P Registration is meant to weed out scammers and bad actors in the phone industry, and it will ultimately help all legitimate businesses in the long run. Now that your text messages are linked to a registered user, connected to your EIN and identity, the carriers trust and prioritize your messages over those who are unwilling to go through the process. Down the road, texts sent from unregistered numbers will be throttled and eventually fully terminated.
It’s best to go through the registration as soon as possible, for the betterment of your business and the increased trust you’ll establish with current and future customers. And remember — smrtPhone is here to help you every step away.