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Information and best practices for using Toll-Free SMS and MMS in the US and Canada


Notice: As of July 11, 2023, users are able to submit Toll-Free Verification requests via the newly released Messaging Compliance API or in Console. See the Verification process for more information.

Notice: As of October 1, 2022, Twilio has applied a daily limit of 2,000 message segments per day for traffic sent over restricted (previously “Unverified”) Toll-Free phone numbers in the US. Beginning April 1, 2023, these limits will drop to 500 daily / 1,000 weekly / 2,000 monthly.

Submitting your completed verification form to the carrier places the Toll-Free number(s) in a Pending Verification status, which allows for higher volume limits (2,000 daily / 6,000 weekly / 10,000 monthly) and reduces the chances of filtering while waiting for final carrier approval.

Any traffic - restricted or pending - that exceeds the daily limit or is filtered for spam will see an Error 30032 response returned for both scenarios. To avoid this, we recommend submitting your number(s) for verification as soon as possible to get full approval.

Please note, these Toll-Free caps are maximum limits, (not a guaranteed daily minimum), so traffic could still experience message filtering even when well below the daily limits if not verified.

See Toll-Free Message Verification for US/Canada for additional details.


Toll-Free numbers are designated for business messaging use by all major carriers in the United States, and by most major mobile carriers in Canada (Rogers, Fido, Telus and Videotron). Although carrier filtering is still possible for messages sent from Toll-Free phone numbers, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of filtering by complying with all rules and regulations, and following best practices. This guide explains which SMS and MMS use cases are approved for Toll-Free phone numbers, and our recommendations for ensuring high deliverability.

Article contents:

Approved Toll-Free messaging use cases

Some categories of messaging, such as high-risk financial services and third-party debt collection, are specifically forbidden on Toll-Free SMS and MMS. For more details, see Forbidden message categories for SMS and MMS in the US and Canada.

Toll-Free messaging is a great choice for transactional use cases, including the following:

  • One-time password (OTP) or verification codes
  • Account-related alerts or notifications
  • Customer care messaging that includes some automated messaging (including satisfaction surveys)

Toll-Free messaging can also be used for promotional or marketing-type traffic, however it is extremely important to ensure that all recipients have opted-in and that you maintain a low opt-out ("STOP" reply) rate to avoid filtering.

Short code numbers remain the best method of sending high-volume marketing or promotional messaging in the United States and Canada.

Toll-Free Messaging Verification is required, and reduces filtering risk on compliant traffic

The enforcement for the 10/1/2022 deadline has changed from failing all Restricted Toll-Free traffic to failing traffic that exceed 2000 messages per day per number.

Beginning April 1, 2023, these limits will drop to 500 daily / 1,000 weekly / 2,000 monthly. Also, Pending Verification status will allow for higher volume limits (2,000 daily / 6,000 weekly / 10,000 monthly) and reduce the chance of filtering while waiting for final carrier approval.

Toll-Free Verification reduces the risk of filtering on your message traffic, assuming it is compliant with all applicable rules. Twilio offers this verification service free of cost. The Toll-Free traffic verification process can take approximately 2-3 weeks for completion. Please see Toll-Free Message Verification for US/Canada for details.

Toll-Free messaging best practices

Toll-Free message filtering is primarily geared toward preventing unwanted messaging, fraud, or abuse. If you are sending A2P messages to the US that align with the CTIA's best practices and Twilio's Messaging Policy, you should generally see a low rate of filtering when using a Toll-Free phone number.

Additionally, Toll-Free messaging users must adhere to the following standards:

  • Obtain clear opt-in from your recipients before sending them messages (the opt-in does not need to be via SMS).
  • Provide easy ways for your users to opt-out of messages.
  • Maintain a very low opt-out (STOP reply) rate from your recipients.
  • Use shortened, branded URLs for the highest deliverability levels when sending links in the message body. Do not use shared URL shorteners (such as popular free URL shortening services) as these are forbidden by US carriers and will result in filtering.
  • Do not "load balance" by sending the same or similar message contents using multiple Toll-Free numbers. Carriers call this "snowshoeing" and it is specifically targeted for filtering on Toll-Free SMS.
    • If you need higher SMS message throughput on a Toll-Free number, please contact our Sales team about increasing your throughput.
    • If you have a valid use case for sending the same or similar messages over multiple Toll-Free numbers, please contact Twilio Support.

My Toll-Free messages to the United States or Canada are being filtered (error 30007), but my use case complies with all best practices.

If you suspect you may be experiencing inappropriate filtering (error 30007) on compliant outbound Toll-Free SMS messages despite following all best practices listed above, please contact our Support team, and we can investigate on your behalf.

Toll-Free MMS file size limitations

Toll-Free US numbers sending MMS with non-image attachments (PDFs, video files, etc.) to the US currently require all media attachments to be no larger than 600kb. Twilio will automatically transcode image files (jpg, gif, and png images) to meet this size limit, but will not alter or resize other file types.

For details about MMS file size, see Twilio Programmable SMS Supported File Types and Size Limits for MMS Media Messages.

Toll-Free SMS and MMS carrier fees

Verizon charges a carrier fee of $0.0025 per SMS message segment and $0.005 per MMS, on all Toll-Free messaging toward subscribers on their network.

T-Mobile (including Sprint): Starting July 1, 2021, Twilio will pass through T-Mobile’s carrier fees of $0.0025 per SMS message segment (inbound and outbound) and $0.01 per MMS (inbound and outbound).

AT&T: Starting July 1, 2021, Twilio will pass through AT&T’s carrier fees of $0.0025 per outbound SMS message segment and $0.003 per outbound MMS.

See also: Toll-Free SMS and MMS United States carrier fees (July 1, 2021)

Toll-Free SMS and MMS throughput (messages per second sending rate)

For details, see Toll-Free SMS and MMS messaging throughput (MPS).

Why would I use Toll-Free messaging instead of a short code?

A short code is the ideal solution for high-volume A2P use cases. By default, short codes offer much higher messaging throughput than other types of numbers, at 100 SMS segments per second. US short codes can also be enabled to send MMS (picture or media) messages in the United States.

US-based Toll-Free phone numbers may be a better fit for certain use cases. Unlike short codes, they can be used for placing and receiving voice calls, in addition to SMS messages. Toll-free SMS may also be a good choice for a business that needs A2P-type communications, but is not ready to apply for a short code.

For a comparison of short code, Toll-Free US, and US/Canadian long code numbers, see Comparison of SMS messaging in the US and Canada for long codes, short codes, and Toll-Free phone numbers.

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