To the untrained eye, your personal phone number looks no different than what's become known as a 10-digit long code (10DLC). In fact, both may be referred to as long codes, but 10DLC carries a very different connotation, and it's the wave of the future for businesses that wish to message consumers in the U.S. and Canadian 10-digit long code users.

Unpacking Related Terminology

To get a complete picture of the story behind how branded long codes turned into 10DLCs, you have to gain a thorough understanding of some associated key terms, like short codes, long codes and application-to-person messaging. We'll break down the ABCs of P2P, A2P and more.

P2P Messaging

Peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging is the kind of everyday texting that takes place between friends and family members. While this can include communications sent by either Short Message Service (SMS) or over-the-top (OTT) apps like WhatsApp, SMS texts are what's relevant for our purposes.

A2P Messaging

Application-to-person (A2P) messaging occurs when a text is sent from an application — typically by a business or other large entity or organization — directly to an individual. Because SMS is an essentially universal channel, it's one of the primary avenues for A2P messaging.

Today, A2P text messages delivered by SMS can be sent from any of the widely used types of phone numbers available, such as short codes, long codes or toll-free 800 numbers. However, one of the primary reasons that 10DLC is being hailed as a new solution or an original development is because it refers to long codes that have been registered specifically for A2P uses.

Short Codes

Shared short codes were once the standard pathway for A2P messaging. These numbers, typically four to six digits long, were often used by multiple entities simultaneously. However, the days of several businesses sharing a short code are coming to an end. As 10DLC is implemented, it's expected that shared short codes will be phased out.

Long Codes

Long codes are dedicated phone numbers used by one entity at a time. These numbers can belong to either a business or a person. The term "long code" distinguishes these more standard phone numbers from the distinctive short codes that emerged to support A2P messaging, and long codes were traditionally associated with P2P messaging. However, as problems began to surface among shared short codes, some organizations moved to long codes for their A2P campaigns.

The principal feature that takes the established long codes of yesteryear and transforms them into 10DLCs is registration with The Campaign Registry. This change will bring about new benefits for businesses and consumers alike.

Moving From Long Codes To 10DLCs

Businesses need to make the shift from traditional long codes to 10DLCs if they want to continue delivering A2P messages to users in the United States. As we've mentioned, the two kinds of numbers appear identical to recipients, and organizations won't necessarily have to get a new number. So what does it mean to make the move?

Registering Brands And Campaigns With The Campaign Registry

In order to deliver A2P SMS messages to end users from a 10DLC, the entity that wishes to send the communication must register as a brand with The Campaign Registry (TCR) and disclose specific details about the campaigns they wish to deploy.

As direct connect aggregators (DCAs) like Swift SMS Gateway work together with brands, carriers and TCR to preserve the integrity of this new channel, the hope is that 10DLC can supplant previous long codes as a sanctioned ecosystem for A2P messaging. The successful transition will help curb abuse from malicious actors while smoothing out operations for legitimate users.

Future Implications Of 10DLC

As we've discussed in the past, there are several potential use cases for 10DLC, and this new standard is expected to provide higher throughput capabilities. We're currently in the middle of the transition between the long codes and shared short codes of the past and the more tightly controlled 10DLC format of the future. While many customers won't even notice the change at first, they'll quickly benefit from a more standardized ecosystem for A2P messaging. Behind the scenes, we'll be working with your business, TCR and U.S. carriers to ensure that everything proceeds smoothly.

Be a Part Of the 10DLC Transformation

If you use A2P messaging to communicate with mobile users in the United States, it's time to start preparing for the transition from long codes, or shared short codes, to 10DLC. At Swift SMS Gateway, we're here to help. Contact our team today for more information.