What is A2P 10DLC?

Notice - Update, April 28:
T-Mobile has announced carrier fees will be applied to both unregistered and registered traffic starting June 1, 2021. Twilio will pass through these fees at no additional markup. We will gradually migrate registered customers to T-Mobile A2P 10DLC routes to ensure high reliability and deliverability of U.S. SMS traffic. You will experience no disruption during the transition.

Twilio is still working with carriers on a phased onboarding approach to onboard customers to A2P 10DLC. We are sending periodic updates to all customers via email; you can view the latest updates here.

A2P 10DLC refers to a system in the United States that allows businesses to send Application-to-Person (A2P) type messaging via standard 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers. Carriers in the US consider all Twilio traffic to be A2P. Carriers’ A2P 10DLC offerings provide better delivery quality and lower filtering risk than long code SMS of the past, using the same phone numbers.

A2P 10DLC will launch on both AT&T and T-Mobile in 2021, with new registration requirements for businesses who intend to send long code messages to AT&T in the US.

Twilio is partnering with carriers on a phased onboarding approach for all customers who send long code traffic to the US, to ensure you have the time and guidance needed to complete registration.

Starting May 1, 2021, AT&T carrier fees will also go into effect on all Twilio messages to AT&T subscribers. T-Mobile’s carrier fees for both registered and unregistered traffic will begin June 1, 2021.

Verizon previously launched their own A2P 10DLC solution in early 2019 and is not impacted by these new changes.

What do I need to do?

If you do not send messages to users in the United States using long code numbers, you do not need to do anything. If you are a business sending messages in the US, read on.

For now, please begin collecting the information you will need to complete registration – for a list, see How do I register to use A2P 10DLC messaging?

This information will be used register your US A2P Brand(s) and Campaign Use Cases when A2P registration is available. This will be available via both the Twilio Console and via API.

If you are a hobbyist, independent developer or small business sending lower message volume to the US, Twilio is working on a streamlined registration option for you. We will communicate updates as we have them.

Read on for details of the rules and requirements under the new A2P 10DLC registration system, and answers to many anticipated questions.

Article contents:

How does A2P 10DLC work?

There are two important requirements under the new A2P 10DLC system:

  1. Businesses must identify who they are to the carrier networks (Brand registration).
  2. Businesses must register what type of messages they are sending, i.e. notifications (Campaign registration). 

Registration is done entirely through Twilio’s Trust Hub. We have integrated with The Campaign Registry (TCR) to meet the requirements of carriers, while making it easy for businesses to onboard. 

For additional guidance, please see How do I register to use A2P 10DLC messaging?

Do I need to register? If so, what’s the deadline?

Twilio and carriers have partnered on a phased onboarding approach for all customers, rather than setting a hard start date and deadline for registration.

Dates and deadlines for business registration

May 1, 2021:

AT&T’s carrier fees will begin for all customers, at a fixed cost of $0.002 per outbound SMS segment and $0.0035 per outbound MMS segment. Twilio will pass these fees on to our customers with no additional markup.

These AT&T carrier fees will remain in effect for all message traffic until AT&T's transition period for onboarding ends, at which point AT&T's full fee schedule goes into effect.

We are collaborating on a new registration deadline and will provide at least 60-day notice before the transition period officially ends.

June 1, 2021:

T-Mobile's carrier fees for both unregistered and registered traffic ($0.003/segment per outbound or inbound SMS, and $0.01 per outbound or inbound MMS) will go into effect. Twilio will pass these fees on to our customers with no additional markup.

End of AT&T transition period - date TBD:

AT&T's Campaign-based fee schedule goes into effect for messages to users on AT&T's network.  The per-message fees associated with of unregistered SMS and MMS to AT&T increases. AT&T fees will vary from $0.002 to $0.004 per outbound SMS segment and $0.0035 to $0.005 per outbound MMS depending on your use case.

After the transition period ends, AT&T will increase filtering (blocking) of non-registered 10-digit long code traffic sent to users on their network.

What if I am just testing, or sending a low volume of messages to the US?

If you are a hobbyist, independent developer, or a very small business, you do not need to complete any registration at this time. Ultimately, registration is a requirement, however Twilio is working on a streamlined registration solution for customers sending fewer than 3,000 SMS message segments and MMS a day to the United States. More details will be announced when we have them.

What happens if I don't register?

Twilio and carriers have partnered on a phased onboarding approach for customers. As of April 28, 2021, there is no hard deadline for all customers to complete registration.

However, registration will ultimately be a requirement for all customers sending messages to the United States using 10-digit long code numbers. Non-registered message traffic will be subject to heavier message filtering. Twilio and carriers want to give customers ample time to make this transition without negative effects. We will update this article when further details exist.

The registration process for individuals and small businesses sending small volumes of message traffic is still being worked out. Twilio and carriers are committed to ensuring this type of traffic remains possible.

We expect that some of you may wonder whether you would be considered a small business, based on your current message volume to the US. As of today, we don't have specific thresholds from carriers to determine this. Please stay tuned as we will update this information as soon as more specific guidance is available.

How does US A2P Brand registration work? 

When you complete your US A2P Brand registgration, The Campaign Registry will give your Brand a TCR Trust Score of either Low, Medium, or High Trust. This rating influences the maximum message throughput that will be allocated to each of your campaign use cases (see below).

What is a TCR Trust Score, and how does it affect me?

When you complete the registration of your Brand and Campaign(s) for A2P Messaging through the Twilio Console, that information is sent from Twilio to The Campaign Registry (TCR), a 3rd party at the center of this new registration system. TCR uses a reputation algorithm to review specific criteria relating to your company, and assign a TCR Trust Score that will determine your messaging throughput.

How do TCR Trust Scores influence message throughput?

TCR Trust Scores are grouped into three levels, from lowest to highest. Your Trust Score level, combined with your Campaign Type, will determine the message throughput that is allocated to your campaign use case.

For details, see Message throughput (MPS) and Trust Scores for A2P 10DLC in the US.

What’s a campaign use case?

This represents a messaging use case, for example sending account notifications or conducting marketing. In carrier terminology, these are called "Campaigns." For more specificity, Twilio is calling them campaign use cases.

Some companies may only need to register one campaign use case, in other scenarios you may have multiple. For example, if you are a company that sends authentication codes to validate new users, but you also send marketing messages, you should register two campaign use cases.

What do the campaign use case options mean?

Your campaign use case describes the type of messaging you plan to send. This will influence the price you pay per message on AT&T.

Use cases vary from notifications and fraud alerts to customer care to social updates. For a full list of campaign use cases, please see: List of Campaign Types and Use Case Types for A2P 10DLC registration

Do I need to go directly to The Campaign Registry or any other non-Twilio website to complete registration?

No. Registration can be completed entirely through Twilio. Twilio has integrated directly with The Campaign Registry (TCR) to facilitate registration for our customers. This offers you other benefits of Twilio’s Trust Hub.

If you are an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), you can apply to Twilio for an exception to allow you to go directly to TCR for your US A2P Brand and Campaign registrations, and use those registrations for your message traffic on Twilio. If you aren't sure whether you are an ISV or a direct customer, see our A2P 10DLC registration article for a description of these categories.

However, before considering this option, we strongly recommend you review this crucial information about requirements and limitations when registering directly with TCR.

Do I need to buy new phone numbers to use this A2P 10DLC service?

If you are already using long code numbers, there is no need to buy new numbers. You will enable your existing numbers to use the new A2P 10DLC service by following the registration process.

See also: How do these rule changes affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers? Should I switch to 10DLC?

My company provides services to multiple other brands or companies as an ISV (independent software vendor). What do I have to do?

If your company is an ISV, you will need to register your own Business Profile and Brand, then register each of your client US A2P Brands and Campaign Use Cases. Twilio is continually working on ways to make this process as smooth as possible for ISV customers, especially those with many clients.

First, you’ll register your own company as a Primary Business Profile in the Trust Hub on your primary Twilio account.

For registering your end clients, Twilio will be offering two options:

  • Starter Brand: For clients sending fewer than 3,000 SMS message segments and MMS a day to the United States. These clients can be registered with reduced customer data, and no Brand and Campaign registration fees.
  • Standard Brand: For clients sending greater than 3,000 SMS segments and MMS a day to the United States. These clients are registered via the process outlined in ISV Onboarding Guide, including complete US A2P Brand and Campaign Use Case registration.

A2P 10DLC registration is currently in pilot stage, and registration is being opened up in phases. When you are invited to onboard, you will receive an email with further information and documentation. Please see here for our complete ISV onboarding guide: ISV U.S. A2P 10DLC Onboarding Guide

We understand that onboarding to A2P 10DLC may be a significant effort if you are an ISV with a large number of clients. As you gain access to A2P registration, we recommend you start by registering your larger clients, then expand registration to your smaller clients.

See also: How do I register to use A2P 10DLC messaging?

What information is required for registration?

In order to register businesses, brands and use cases, you will need information about each business and brand. The required info includes the business name, physical address, business type (LLC, partnership, etc.).

For customers sending fewer than 3,000 SMS message segments and MMS a day to the United States, Twilio is working on a registration solution with lighter customer info requirements.

For a complete list of information needed to register, see How do I register to use A2P 10DLC messaging?

Once I have completed registration, how do I make sure my phone numbers use 10DLC?

Once your Brand(s) and Campaign(s) are approved, you will need to link each of your A2P Campaign Use Cases to a Messaging Service, and add phone numbers to that Messaging Service. Any numbers that you add to that Messaging Service will be automatically associated with the Campaign that you linked to that Messaging Service.

If you make this change today in advance of the changes, please ensure that your inbound message configuration (e.g. the webhook for your application) is applied on your Messaging Service. The inbound configuration settings of a Messaging Service currently takes precedence over the existing inbound settings on those numbers. Twilio will offer a new default setting to change this behavior to ease the transition, and will update this article with the details.

Do I need to change the way I send outbound messages?

If you don’t currently use Messaging Services in your application to send outbound messages, that’s OK – you won’t need to make changes within your application. It is not required to modify your application to include the Messaging Service SID in your API requests. It is only necessary to add the phone numbers to a Messaging Service, in order to associate them with a Campaign.

What pricing and fees are associated with the A2P 10DLC service?

For an overview of registration costs and per-message carrier fees associated with A2P 10DLC, please see What pricing and fees are associated with the A2P 10DLC service?

How long does it take to get registered?

When you initially submit your Business Profile in the Twilio Trust Hub, it will be reviewed within 72 hours. This review is completed by Twilio. You can do this initial step in advance of A2P registration opening up, if you choose.

As Twilio rolls out our phased approach to A2P registration, we expect that US A2P Brand and Campaign Use Case registrations submitted through Twilio will typically be approved within 1 hour.

Is MMS messaging affected by A2P 10DLC?

Yes. However, for high-volume MMS use cases in the United States, a short code is still the best option. Long code MMS messaging remains subject to throughput limits, due to limited carrier capacity (see below).

What message sending throughput (MPS) do I get?

Message throughput (MPS) will be allocated per registered Campaign Use Case. For many customers, A2P 10DLC will offer much higher throughput than the traditional 1 MPS for long code messaging, without the requirement of using additional numbers to get higher throughput.

For details, see Message throughput (MPS) and Trust Scores for A2P 10DLC in the US.

How do these rule changes affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers? Should I switch to 10DLC?

These changes do not directly affect short codes and Toll-Free numbers, except for officially prohibiting shared short codes for all use cases except authentication codes. Details below.

Shared short codes will be banned, date TBD

Dedicated short codes are still a great way to send high-volume A2P messaging in the United States. However, the use of shared short code numbers is being formally banned by AT&T effective June 1. The only exception to this policy is shared short codes used to send 2-factor auth (2FA) or OTP codes only.

“Shared short codes” refers to short code numbers that are shared among multiple brands, for example Shoe Company A and Beverage Company B sending messages via the same short code number. If you have purchased a short code number from Twilio and are using it for your own business and brand only, you are not affected by this change.

Under the new policy, a short code may be shared across multiple companies only for the purposes of sending authentication code messages, for example "Your login code is 12345." Any other category of messaging is not allowed on a shared short code.

Customers who are sharing a short code among multiple clients or brands for any purpose other than sending 2-factor codes (also known as OTPs) should completely migrate away from shared short codes.

Previously, the end date for shared short codes was identified as June 1. As of March 29, the end date for shared short codes is on hold until the successful implementation of A2P 10DLC. A specific date will be shared here when we have information to share.

Toll-Free SMS – no changes

US Toll-Free phone numbers are not affected by these changes. Toll-Free SMS is still a great way to send A2P SMS in the United States as well as Canada. See Information and best practices for using Toll-Free SMS in the US and Canada for more information.

Is there an API for registering Business Profiles, US A2P Brands, and Campaign Use Cases?

Yes, for ISV-type customers who are invited to onboard their clients, Twilio is providing APIs for registering yourselves and your clients. These APIs are currently in pilot stage and are will be shared with you when you are invited to begin onboarding.

Regardless of how you plan to register, we encourage you to go ahead and collect all the required information. See How do I register to use A2P 10DLC messaging? for a list.

Is Verizon making any changes to their existing A2P 10DLC service?

Verizon launched their A2P 10DLC service in January 2019. At this time, Verizon has not announced any plans to adopt these new Brand and Campaign registration requirements. If this ever occurs, Twilio will notify our customers in advance.

For now, Verizon’s A2P 10DLC service continues operating without changes. See the Verizon A2P 10DLC FAQ for details.

What about other mobile networks in the US?

T-Mobile is using the same registration system as AT&T. We will be sharing finalized details around T-Mobile's transition to A2P 10DLC in the near future, and updating this FAQ with complete details.

US Cellular (the 4th largest mobile carrier in the US) has not announced specific A2P 10DLC plans as of January 2021. Read on for details about other types of mobile networks.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)

Many smaller branded mobile providers in the US are actually Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), who utilize one or more of the major mobile networks for their service. A list of US MVNOs is available on Wikipedia. Any numbers on an MVNO who primarily utilizes AT&T's network will also be affected by these changes.

If you perform a Twilio Lookup on a mobile number operated by an MVNO, it will display the name of the primary host network (for example, AT&T or Verizon).

Other independent mobile networks

Small independent mobile networks in the US are a small percentage of the mobile market, and are not affected by upcoming A2P 10DLC changes. A list of mobile networks in the US who own and operate their own network infrastructure is available on Wikipedia for reference.

Is messaging to Canada or any other countries also affected by these changes?

No. Canadian mobile carriers may introduce registered A2P 10DLC solutions in the future, but at this time carriers have not announced any plans to do so.

For information about message sending in countries other than the US, we recommend checking out our country-specific SMS Guidelines pages to learn about any unique rules or restrictions in that country.

Is WhatsApp messaging affected by A2P 10DLC?

No. WhatsApp messaging is unaffected by any of these changes. WhatsApp messages are transmitted over the Internet, rather than through carrier networks like SMS and MMS.

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