10DLC: what is it, compliance and best practices

December 6, 2023
6 min.

Explore 10DLC for business SMS: Compliance, cost-effectiveness, and best practices to enhance customer communication and collections.

Understanding 10DLC is crucial for businesses looking to enhance their communication and AR strategies. This technology represents a significant shift in how companies connect with their audience via text messaging. 10DLC is considered an upgrade to the traditional ways of Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, as it's designed specifically for businesses, providing a reliable and efficient method to reach customers in an ever more SMS & MMS world.

10DLC is cost-effective and ensures compliance with carrier regulations, enhancing message deliverability and trust. For businesses, this means a more robust and direct line of communication with their audience. Let’s discover how it works and the best practices so you can start leveraging 10DLC today.

Key Takeaways

  • 10-digit long code (10DLC) is a specialized phone number for business-to-customer SMS messaging, offering large-scale messaging capabilities with the familiarity of a standard phone number.
  • 10DLC offers improved message deliverability, cost-effectiveness, compliance with carrier regulations, and a local presence, enhancing customer trust and engagement.
  • 10DLC combines the high throughput of short codes and the affordability of toll-free long codes, providing an efficient, cost-effective, and customer-friendly messaging solution.
  • Best Practices for 10DLC include registering with The Campaign Registry (TCR), obtaining consumer consent, providing clear opt-out options, personalizing messages, adhering to technical guidelines, and complying with laws like the TCPA.

What is 10DLC?

illustration of a message sent to "Matt" from a 10DLC number that reads: "Hey Matt, did you know that 10DLC has several benefits over other methods? Deliverability, efficiency & compliance, to name a few!"

10DLC, or 10-digit long code, is a new standard for business messaging. It's a type of phone number designed explicitly for Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS messaging. Unlike traditional long codes intended for person-to-person communication, 10DLC is tailored for mass messaging by businesses, combining the familiarity of a standard phone number with the capabilities needed for large-scale messaging.

What are the benefits of A2P 10DLC?

Here are the 4 main benefits of A2P 10DLC:

  • Improved deliverability: Messages sent via 10DLC are less likely to be flagged as spam, ensuring your communications reach your audience. 
  • Cost-effectiveness: 10DLC provides a more affordable option than short codes, without compromising functionality. 
  • Compliance: 10DLC offers top-notch compliance with carrier regulations, which is crucial in maintaining a trustworthy customer relationship. 
  • Local presence: Using a 10-digit number that resembles a standard phone number can enhance customer trust and engagement, as it appears more personal and less automated.

10DLC vs Short Code vs Toll-Free Long Code

Examples of 10DLC, Toll-free and short code numbers

Until the release of 10DLC, companies could only send messages through shared short codes and the traditional toll-free long codes. Let’s compare them to understand the impact 10DLC has on the advancement of business-consumer communications.

Short codes are five to six-digit numbers used for high-volume messaging. They're fast and can handle a large number of messages simultaneously, making them ideal for mass marketing campaigns. However, short codes can be costly and often take weeks to be approved, which might not suit businesses needing a quicker setup.

Toll-free long codes, on the other hand, offer a more traditional approach. These are standard toll-free numbers that can be used for both voice and SMS. They provide a professional appearance and are less expensive than short codes. However, their messaging throughput is lower, which might not be sufficient for larger campaigns.

What’s the difference between 10DLC, short code vs toll-free long code?

10DLC bridges these gaps effectively. It offers the high throughput and reliable delivery of short codes but at a lower cost, similar to toll-free long codes. Additionally, 10DLC numbers are easier and faster to obtain than short codes. They also maintain a local presence, which can be more appealing to customers, enhancing trust and engagement. For businesses looking for a balance between efficiency, cost, and customer engagement, 10DLC presents itself as an optimal solution.

10DLC best practices

As of August 31, 2023, major mobile carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, have started blocking texts sent from unregistered or non-compliant 10DLC numbers. This significant change has impacted how businesses communicate with their customers via text, and many were caught off guard. Here's a straightforward guide to help you avoid this happening to your company:

  1. Registration with TCR: To start using 10DLC for your business messaging, registration with The Campaign Registry (TCR) is essential. This process involves submitting all details about your organization, the types of messages you plan to send, and proof of how you've obtained consumer consent to your Campaign Service Provider (CSP), and they’ll make the submission to TCR. This step is pivotal in ensuring your messaging campaign adheres to carrier standards and regulations.
  1. Consent is Key: Always obtain written consent from consumers before sending any marketing messages. This can be achieved through various methods like one-click opt-in buttons on web pages, opt-in messages to mobile devices, or online consent forms.
  1. Clear Opt-Out Options: Give consumers an easy way to stop receiving texts. Respecting opt-out requests is a best practice and a legal requirement.
  1. Message Content and Frequency: Personalize your messages and send them only as necessary. Avoid overloading consumers with frequent texts. Start each message with your company's name for clarity.
  1. Technical Tips: Steer clear of free URL shorteners, excessive use of ALL CAPS, and overuse of special characters. Keep your messages concise and to the point, as the effectiveness of texting lies in its brevity. Also, ensure that any callback number provided matches the text number used for sending messages.
  1. Compliance with Laws: Adhere to laws and regulations like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This ensures your messaging strategy is legally sound.

Wrapping Up

10DLC is an opportunity to enhance how you connect with your customers more efficiently, competently, and respectfully. By integrating 10DLC into your messaging strategy, you're committing to a method that respects customer preferences while ensuring your messages are delivered effectively and within regulatory guidelines. It's a step forward in building more robust, reliable customer relationships.


Who does 10DLC apply to?

10DLC applies to businesses sending Application-to-Person (A2P) messages via standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers in the United States.

Can 10DLC be used for collections?

Yes, 10DLC can be used for collections. The primary aim of 10DLC is to enhance transparency and accountability in the debt collection process. By providing a dedicated long code, customers can easily identify legitimate messages from the agency, leading to increased trust and a reduced likelihood of spam or fraudulent communications.

What are 10DLC requirements?

To register for 10DLC, businesses must provide their Campaign Service Provider (CSP) with the required information, and the CSP will submit the application to The Campaign Registry (TCR). The registration process for 10DLC is simple, but there is a one-time registration fee and a monthly campaign fee.

How long does it take to get 10DLC?

The time it takes to get 10DLC varies depending on the carrier and the vetting process. Still, businesses are strongly encouraged to complete vetting before August 31, 2023, to avoid reduced message delivery from unregistered numbers.

What is an example of a 10DLC?

An example of a 10DLC is a standard 10-digit phone number, like 423-218-0111.

What is the 10 DLC limit?

The 10DLC limit varies depending on the carrier, with different requirements regarding price and volume limits for 10DLC texting.

Does 10DLC apply to Canada?

10DLC only applies to Canadian companies sending text messages to US recipients.

What is an unregistered 10DLC number?

An unregistered 10DLC number is a 10-digit long code phone number that has not been registered with The Campaign Registry (TCR).