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10DLC - Everything You Need to Know 

When you first sign up to an SMS provider so you can send out mass text message campaigns, you’ll need to create a Sender ID. This is a unique identifier that your subscribers will see when they receive your texts. It’s usually a shortcode, toll-free code, or 10-digit long code (10DLC). This post focuses primarily on 10DLC; what it is, how it compares to other Sender IDs, and how to set one up with Messente.

Related: What is a Sender ID?

What is 10DLC (and A2P messaging)?

10DLC is a system used in the U.S. for sending Application to Person (A2P) text messaging. It’s an abbreviation for a ‘10-digit long code’, which is a special ten-digit phone number. A2P messaging is the technology that enables businesses or brands to send out text messages in bulk to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of subscribers simultaneously.

Regular phone numbers (also 10-digits in the U.S.) were originally built by the U.S. carrier community for Person to Person (P2P) text messaging. As the name suggests, this is where a person texts another person from their mobile device. Shortcodes, which are five or six-digit numbers, were introduced more than a decade ago for A2P messaging.

That said, up until a couple of years ago, it was also possible for businesses to leverage P2P messaging to carry out bulk texting. However, this resulted in A2P traffic being mixed with P2P traffic, making it difficult for carrier networks to protect consumers from spam.

In 2019/2020, the major U.S. carrier networks, like Verizon and AT&T, began to migrate to A2P 10DLC. The programme gives carriers more power in identifying reputable senders, and of course, those sending unsolicited texts. Spam texts are rife in the U.S. - the number has grown in the last few years, with an average of 14.7 spam text messages being received (per person) per month in 2020.

For business text messaging in the U.S., 10DLC is the new SMS industry standard, leading to more trusted messaging in general.

Man with black shirt using a smartphone on a street

10DLC compared to other Sender IDs

Let’s explore all the different types of Sender IDs for business text messaging and see how 10DLC stacks up:


These five or six-digit numbers can be used to send millions of text messages per day, at a very speedy rate. Around 500 messages can be sent per second using a short code number. However, shortcodes can be costly, involving a leasing cost and a volume cost. Plus, shortcodes often involve a lengthy setup and approval process, which can take between eight and twelve weeks.

That said, shortcodes are ideal if you need to send high volumes of text messages. And, once set up, the number won’t go through carrier filtering (great news for deliverability).

Long codes

These are standard phone numbers. And although these aren’t designed (or approved) for A2P messaging, if you need to text your customers individually, for example, for customer service, a long code could be the best option. But long codes only transmit approximately one message per second, so they can’t really be used to message large groups of people.

Toll-free number

Toll-free numbers are long code numbers that begin with a three-digit code, for example, ‘800’ or ‘888’. They’re best used when you need to message customers back and forth or switch from text to a phone conversation like you might for customer service or sales support. Toll-free codes are affordable and quick to set up - you can sometimes use your existing business phone number. They can also be used to send one-way alerts, but aren’t suitable for high volume SMS marketing campaigns.


With 10DLC, you get the ability to send mass marketing text messages (and transactional texts) without the expense associated with shortcodes. The messaging rate for 10DLC is currently around five to fifteen messages a second (much higher than a regular long code).

That said, if you need to send huge volumes of texts, you’ll probably be better off using a shortcode. A 10DLC number is ideal for sending messages such as two-factor authentication alerts, appointment or payment reminders and order confirmations.

Deliverability is generally better with 10DLC numbers than standard long codes because, like with shortcodes, you’ll have to go through an approval process with carriers to obtain a 10DLC number.

How to set up a 10DLC with Messente

Any businesses or brands wanting to utilise 10DLC must register with the U.S. carriers to get approval. A 10DLC number can only be used by a single sender, for a single-use campaign. This is so the carriers can identify the type of texts being sent from each number.

The vetting process involves a bit of data gathering on your part. The information that needs to be submitted includes your business name, contact details, URLs, the use case for the text messages, campaign descriptions and more. Registration must be done whether you’re sending marketing or transactional texts, and irrespective of how many texts you intend to send.

Here at Messente, we can register your business and use cases with the U.S. carriers, to generate your 10DLC Sender ID, ready for sending out text campaigns. Simply contact us and we can put the wheels in motion.

Business man using a phone behind a laptop

10DLC: demystified

To sum up, a 10DLC is a U.S. specific, carrier-approved phone number (Sender ID), generated for business text messaging, and more specifically, for A2P messaging. You might want to use a 10DLC if you don’t need to send massive volumes of texts simultaneously, and you don’t want to pay the costs associated with setting up a shortcode.

10DLC is ideal for sending out a range of transaction and marketing texts, like 2FA pin codes, delivery confirmations, appointment reminders, flash sale notifications, and more.

Have questions not answered here? We’re happy to help - get in touch.

Mārcis Jurisons
2021-06-02 00:00:00 UTC