Last updated: April 6, 2021

What A2P 10DLC Is and Why You Should Care

There are new texting regulations being imposed by mobile carriers that are going to change the way businesses use the text messaging channel for marketing and operations purposes.

Short for Application-to-Person Messaging Via 10Digit Long Code, A2P 10DLC will affect all businesses that use a cloud based phone system to send messages no matter who your provider is. If you use technology to send texts from a local phone number, A2P applies to you.

There are benefits and costs, whether you choose to register or not. Below, we cover the basics of what you need to know about A2P 10DLC.

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What is the purpose of A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC will slow the influx of spam texts to consumers’ message inboxes. Its purpose is to create a registration system for business senders, so mobile carriers can signal to consumers which messages are coming from a verified source and which should raise suspicions. A distinct A2P delivery channel will be created for verified senders, separating them from unregistered texts, improving deliverability and credibility.

Additionally, brands will be given a “Trust Score” of low, medium, and high, which will impact the volume and throughput of your messages. The higher your Trust Score, the larger quantity of texts you can send, faster.

Who created A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC is not an FCC regulation, but it does seem influenced by recent FCC crackdowns on spam robocalls and by consumer cries to help reduce unwanted telemarketing calls. Applying similar verification and anti-spam adherence to text messaging is a predictable next step.

A2P 10DLC requirements are being driven by the major U.S. mobile carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile (who recently acquired Sprint). Verizon actually created their own A2P 10DLC channel back in January 2019 and has not made any announcements that there will be any forthcoming changes. AT&T and T-Mobile made announcements in early 2021 that they would be imposing a verification system as part of developing their A2P channels, with a launch date of summer 2021. (Exact date TBD)

Will A2P 10DLC affect all mobile phone providers in the U.S?

Although there are dozens of mobile phone providers in the United States, they all run on the networks built by the major mobile providers. This means that even if a consumer pays their bill to Cricket or Metro PCS, for example, they are still being governed by the protocols set by AT&T or T-Mobile. That means: yes, all mobile phone providers will be enacting verification for text messages sent by businesses and received by their customers.

This also means that the A2P 10DLC requirements will not vary between texting technology providers. Whether you use smrtPhone or another system to send text messages, you will be subject to the same registration requirements.

What are the requirements for A2P 10DLC registration?

Businesses who send text messages from local phone numbers will be required to register to become a verified sender. There are three levels: Company, Brand, and Campaign.

Company: If you send messages from a technology platform or a cloud service provider, such as smrtPhone, you already have what is called an Independent Software Vendor (ISV). ISVs will take the place of your Company registration if you register through them. smrtPhone will be creating a Trust Center within our App where you will be able to complete the A2P 10DLC registration.

Brand: You will need to register your market-facing brand names. This is how you want to be identified by your contacts who will be receiving texts. You must register each brand separately.

Campaign: For each use case, you must create a campaign. You will name the campaign, declare its purpose, and supply two sample messages.

Note: The deadlines for registration have not been solidified as of April 6, 2021.

Are there fees associated with A2P 10DLC?

Yes, there will be additional fees associated with A2P 10DLC. These fees are set by the receiving carriers, not smrtPhone or any technology provider. smrtPhone is committed to passing through any additional fees at cost (customary smrtPhone texting fees will remain as-is).

The fee schedules published by T-Mobile and AT&T have been evolving and changing. This is what we know so far:

  • Brand registration: a small one-time fee (~$4 per brand)
  • Campaign registration: AT&T proposed a monthly fee for maintaining verified status ($2-$10/mo. depending on campaign type), T-Mobile indicated they would implement a one-time fee of $50.
  • Message fees: A per-text fee will be imposed by both AT&T and T-Mobile, ranging from $0.001-$0.0035.

It is important to note that unregistered campaigns will incur higher per-message fees of $0.003-$0.005. 

What are the benefits of A2P 10DLC?

As a consumer, the benefits are obvious: we will know which texts to trust and better avoid scams. There will also be some recourse if we opt out of messages from a business, but they do not stop sending them. We will be able to put in a complaint to our carriers which will affect the verification status/trust score of senders.

As a business, there are benefits to A2P as well. The biggest one is the boost of being separated from scammers with verified status. The A2P channel will have prioritized delivery and improve your brand’s credibility with a verified status. Studies have shown that messages from verified businesses see a 27% increase in likelihood to purchase compared to unverified messages.

Summary of A2p 10DLC benefits:

  • Improved deliverability due to separate channel
  • Higher volume/throughput capability than standard local number texting
  • Greater credibility of messages = more likely to get a response
  • Less expensive and easier to set up than short codes
  • Exclusivity. No sharing of your numbers with other brands.
  • Voice-enabled numbers means recipients can call you back, if they choose.
  • Separated from spammers. Major mobile carriers are committed to keeping scammers separate from your brand.

What are the drawbacks of A2P 10DLC?

For consumers, there doesn’t seem to be much drawback, except the risk of not getting business texts that you had actually hoped for.

For businesses, there will be two main areas of adjustment:

  1. The first is having to register.  If you use a software technology provider (ISV) you will have to register both your brand and your individual campaigns. Hopefully, these will be one-time annoyances.
  2. The second is that the receiving mobile carriers will be imposing new texting fees on businesses. While new fees are not great news to any business, the fees for unregistered texts will be even higher than the fees for registered senders.

There is a small risk that your campaigns will be rejected for not following the anti-spam rules the carriers have created. At smrtPhone we anticipate that, after a brief learning curve, registering campaigns will not be a problem for most businesses.

Where can I learn more about A2P 10DLC?

We have gathered a small collection of articles about A2P 10DLC in our documentation. You can learn more about the verification requirements there. We will continue to add to these articles as we learn more. Additionally, when the smrtPhone Trust Center launches shortly after April 21, 2021, we will include a step-by-step How-to guide to assist all our customers in registering.