Comparison of SMS messaging in the US and Canada for long codes, short codes, and toll-free phone numbers

This guide explains the capabilities and key differences long code, short code, and toll-free phone numbers in the US and Canada:

Notice: There are major upcoming changes to long code SMS in the United States due to carriers' new A2P 10DLC systems. For full details, see What is A2P 10DLC.

  Long code* Toll-free Short code
Coverage Can send SMS to any country. Can send SMS to any country. Can send SMS within their own country only.
Voice call capable Yes Yes No
SMS filtering profile Application-to-Person (A2P) traffic is subject to carrier filtering. Reduced carrier filtering to the United States, as well as the Canadian networks Rogers, Fido, Telus and Videotron.§ No carrier filtering, as long as you comply with the use case submitted in your short code application.
SMS throughput 1 SMS segment per second, can't be increased. 3 SMS segments per second by default, but can be increased. Contact Sales for more information. 100 SMS per second by default, but can be increased. Contact Sales for more information.
MMS capable Yes Not capable of MMS. Capable of MMS with a one-time enablement fee (US only)

* In the United States, starting March 1, 2021, 10-digit long code application-to-person messaging (A2P 10DLC) may require business registration and will be subject to additional carrier fees. For full details, see What is A2P 10DLC.
To send short code SMS messages in both the US and Canada, you would need two different short codes; one in each country.
Verizon Wireless has reduced filtering on A2P messages to their subscribers - see Commercial Long Code SMS & MMS Product and Fee Structure Changes on Verizon. Other US carriers have registration requirements. For full details, see What is A2P 10DLC.
§ Standard long code filtering profile to messages sent to other Canada mobile networks, and other non-US locations. Some use cases not allowed - see Forbidden message categories for toll-free SMS.

For more details on the different types of numbers and their capabilities, please see the following resources:

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