woman receiving a SMS text messaging

What is A2P 10DLC?

What is A2P 10DLC? That question is getting a lot of attention from companies that use text messaging to connect with their customers. The adoption of A2P 10DLC by U.S. telecom carriers has profoundly transformed how businesses use text messaging. That’s important because, with consumers opening 99% of their text messages (compared to less than 33% of emails), the business use of SMS text messaging will continue to increase in importance into the future.

But since A2P 10DLC is relatively new (it went into full effect in May 2021), many marketers still have questions about what A2P 10DLC is and how it will change how they reach out to customers. In this article, we want to answer those questions.

What is A2P 10DLC?

Let’s start with the terminology: what do the acronyms A2P and 10DLC refer to?


A2P stands for Application to Person and refers to any text message a business sends to consumers using a software application. A2P fundamentally differs from P2P, which is the Person-to-Person texting between family and friends we’re all used to that uses the same 10-digit numbers (such as 723-123-4567) for telephone calls.  

Although some businesses used P2P numbers for automated texting to customers in the past, that practice was never sanctioned by carriers and is now forbidden. U.S. telecom carriers typically classify any text message a business sends using a software application as A2P rather than P2P and will block any A2P messages sent using 10-digit P2P numbers. This is where 10DLC comes into play. 


10DLC stands for 10-Digit Long Code. That’s the same format as the 10-digit numbers used for phone calls and P2P texting, and businesses can use 10DLC numbers for those purposes. But the actual value of 10DLC is that it’s explicitly designed for use in A2P text messaging.

The Campaign Registry (TCR), which is the industry’s official registration authority, provides this definition of 10DLC:

“10 Digit Long Code (10DLC) is the new standard for Application-to-Person (A2P) text messaging utilizing a traditional ten-digit phone number. Although similar to the existing long code, 10DLC is a reliable messaging channel with throughput levels suitable for SMS campaigns and is sanctioned by the mobile operators for A2P messaging.”

Related: What 10DLC Is and How It’s Important to Mass Texting

How A2P 10DLC Works

What distinguishes 10DLC from traditional phone numbers is that businesses must register 10DLC numbers with TCR. There are two elements to the required registration:

  1. Brand registration – Businesses must link their corporate profile (name, address, tax number, etc.) with a specific, unique brand name. This needs to be done only once.
  2. Campaign registration – The business must identify all the text messaging campaigns it intends to execute. Each campaign has an associated use case that specifies the kind of text messages (such as promotional messages, two-factor authentication codes, or fraud alerts) you will send.

This registration requirement provides a high degree of accountability by allowing carriers to know precisely who is using their text messaging service and what they are using it for.

TCR uses your brand information to generate a brand rating or “trust score” that determines the throughput rates and costs that will be associated with your brand. Based on your trust score and the type of campaign, each campaign will have a maximum daily limit on the number of message segments per second (MPS) you can send.

What is A2P 10DLC? It’s a means of holding business texters accountable.

Why A2P 10DLC Was Introduced

Mobile phones today receive vast amounts of spam. Consumers have become so wary of unsolicited communications that they mostly ignore phone calls or emails from sources they don’t already know and trust. That deep distrust doesn’t yet extend to text messages, which people still open and respond to at high rates.

But text message spam is increasing. U. S. telecom carriers, fearing that texting might suffer the same fate as email and voice communications, wanted to create a system optimized for A2P business texting, which also holds senders accountable for their text messaging practices.

The result is A2P 10DLC which, with its registration requirement for all volume users, is designed to all but eliminate text messaging spam.

So, what is A2P 10DLC? It’s the telecom industry’s answer to spam.

The Difference Between 10DLC and Short Codes

With short code text messaging, companies typically ask consumers to contact them by texting a keyword to a specified five- or six-digit number (for example, “Text LUNCH to 12345”). Short codes are reliable (messages are highly likely to reach the intended recipients) and efficient (organizations can send a large volume of messages).

Because leasing a short code can be expensive (up to $1000 per month), it was common for many companies to share a single short code number in the past. However, because that practice enabled spammers to operate in relative anonymity, telecom carriers no longer allow sharing of shortcodes—each short code user must now have a dedicated number.

10DLC numbers are more accessible and less expensive than dedicated short code numbers. And unlike short codes, businesses can use them for texting and voice. 10DLC is as reliable as short code messaging, though its throughput is usually lower. Also, while delivery receipts are available with short code messages, they are not available with 10DLC.

Related: Long Code vs. Short Code: Which Is Best for Your Business? 

Opt-in and Opt-out requirements

In the U. S., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, requires that businesses using text messaging must obtain the recipient’s consent before any messages are sent and must have express written consent for marketing messages. In other words, before you can send text messages to any consumer, that person must deliberately opt-in to receive them. Any opt-in checkboxes on web forms must not be pre-checked, and recipients must easily opt-out at any time. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) provides a comprehensive set of guidelines and best practices that, if faithfully followed, will ensure that you comply with TCPA requirements.

Benefits of Using a Robust 10DLC Platform

The easiest way to get set up for 10DLC and to register with TCR is to use a good SMS text messaging solution. Such a platform will typically allow you to quickly and easily register your brand and campaigns through a web interface portal.

A state-of-the-art messaging app will enable you to create, schedule, send, and report on 10DLC messages individually or at scale. With it, you can implement mass marketing campaigns that rely on sending one-way text messages to a large audience or conducting two-way interactions with individual customers to provide them with personalized service. You’ll also have access to comprehensive real-time reporting that provides the feedback you need to quickly optimize your messaging to increase engagement and improve response rates.

Another benefit of using a robust 10DLC app is that seamlessly integrating with other elements of your marketing technology portfolio, including CRM apps such as Salesforce, Hubspot, or Eloqua, will allow you to implement automated, personalized mass text messaging at scale. And by integrating with popular social messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, an excellent 10DLC app will help you engage with customers where they are.

Getting Started With A2P 10DLC

What is A2P 10DLC? It represents a new era for the business use of text messaging. As with most new eras, this updated text messaging landscape confronts users with new complexities and opportunities. Working with a knowledgeable partner who understands this new approach’s intricacies can help you navigate the complexities of A2P 10DLC and reap the many benefits it provides.

If you’d like to know how TrueDialog can use its industry expertise and unique platform that combines mass text messaging and personalized two-way texting at scale to help ease your transition to A2P 10DLC, contact us today to schedule a demo.