Can I activate my own phone number for WhatsApp on Twilio?

Some non-Twilio phone numbers may be eligible to use WhatsApp on Twilio. This guide covers the eligibility qualifications, and steps to make it work.

Option 1: Transfer services to Twilio

A non-Twilio phone number may be eligible to activate WhatsApp on Twilio by transferring the existing SMS and/or Voice capabilities for that number to Twilio. We have two options that will let you accomplish this:

  • Port your phone number into Twilio: This completely transfers your existing phone number's service to Twilio, and cancels service with the original provider. For full details, including the supported countries, see the following resources: US porting process | International porting process.
  • Enable Hosted SMS (Beta): Non-Twilio phone numbers from the US and Canada may be eligible to have Twilio's Programmable Messaging service enabled, without needing to change the phone number service provider. For full details, see our Hosted Numbers FAQ (Twilio Docs).

Please note, if your phone number has already been activated on the WhatsApp API with another provider, it is not possible to activate it for WhatsApp on Twilio, even if you port or host the number. For more info, see Can I move my approved WhatsApp Number to Twilio?

Option 2: Bring your own number (BYON)

Customers who meet certain eligibility requirements may be eligible to onboard non-Twilio numbers to the Twilio API for WhatsApp via our Bring Your Own Number (BYON) preview. If you are interested in WhatsApp BYON and you have a Twilio Account Manager, please reach out to them directly to discuss your WhatsApp BYON eligibility.

If you are not assigned to an Account Manager, you must meet the following requirements for BYON eligibility during this preview:

  • Volume requirement: You must already be sending/receiving at least 10,000 Twilio messages per week (SMS, MMS, or WhatsApp). If you are below this threshold and still building up message volume, we recommend you start by activating a Twilio number for WhatsApp (see below).
  • Number reachability: Your non-Twilio phone number must be reachable by a voice call and/or SMS. If your non-Twilio phone number is only capable of outbound calls, it is not possible to activate it for WhatsApp.
  • Business need: BYON requests will be given higher priority if the number you want to activate is in a country where Twilio does not currently provide phone numbers, or if we have a documented difficulty in activating numbers there (affected countries).
  • Business eligibility: Your business must be eligible to use WhatsApp on Twilio.

Request WhatsApp BYON Access

If you meet the above requirements, and are interested in enabling BYON for WhatsApp, please use the following process:

  1. Request access to use WhatsApp on Twilio.
  2. Once your request is approved, please contact our Support team and mention WhatsApp BYON. Include details about your use case, the reason you need BYON, and your expected WhatsApp messaging volume.
  3. Once your request has been received and confirmed, our team will reach out to you directly to schedule a live phone number registration.

What if none of these options work for me?

If your non-Twilio phone number is not eligible for hosting or porting into Twilio, and you are not eligible for BYON, we recommend you use a Twilio phone number for WhatsApp. Since WhatsApp allows you to communicate globally with any number, we recommend starting with a US Twilio number due to the low cost and ease of registering.

Please note that many types of Twilio phone numbers can be enabled for WhatsApp messaging, even if they are not SMS-capable. For more info, see Which Twilio Phone Numbers are Compatible with WhatsApp.

For help getting started, please see the following resources:

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