The ability to activate a non-Twilio number on the WhatsApp Business API with Twilio depends on whether you have onboarded via Self Sign Up or Guided Onboarding. To see which onboarding path applies to your account, please see the documentation here. If you have not yet onboarded to the WhatsApp Business API with Twilio, you will be eligible to onboard via Self Sign Up if you are sending messages on behalf of your own brand. See here for how to get started.
Self Sign Up onboarding allows you to activate your non-Twilio number via the console following the instructions here.
For ISV customers or customers onboarded through Guided Onboarding, it may be possible to activate your non-Twilio phone numbers on the WhatsApp Business API with 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).
Notice WhatsApp permits sender transfers between WhatsApp Business Accounts (WABAs), so if you signed up for WhatsApp using the WhatsApp Business API outside of Twilio (either directly with WhatsApp, or through a different Business Solution Provider (BSP)), you can now move that existing WhatsApp Business number and templates to the Twilio platform. Please see Can I move my approved WhatsApp Number to Twilio? for more information.
Option 2: Bring your own number (BYON)
Customers who meet certain eligibility requirements may be able to onboard non-Twilio numbers to the Twilio API for WhatsApp via our Bring Your Own Number (BYON) private beta. 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.
Here is the criteria we use to determine your eligibility for BYON:
- Work with an Account Manager: Direct customers and ISVs who wish to access our BYON offering will need to work with an Account Manager. If you don’t have one, you can contact sales here.
- Number reachability: Your non-Twilio phone number must be reachable by SMS (preferred) and/or voice call. 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:
- Request access to use WhatsApp on Twilio.
- Once your request is approved, please reach out to your Account Manager about WhatsApp BYON. Include details about your use case, the reason you need BYON, and your expected WhatsApp messaging volume.
- Your Account Manager will work with our WhatsApp Onboarding team to complete your request.
If you need BYON, and you are not assigned to an Account Manager, please contact the Twilio sales team by completing this form. In addition, please note that the following criteria may apply. Due to high demand for WhatsApp, fulfilling these criteria does not guarantee access to BYON.
- Account 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 volume requirement: Each non-Twilio number registered with WhatsApp is expected to be sending at least 5,000 Twilio messages per week once ramped up.
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:
- To sign up for a free trial project with Twilio, see twilio.com/try-twilio. Existing users can instead create a new trial project for testing.
- For tips on working with WhatsApp on Twilio, see our guide Getting Started with Twilio for WhatsApp.
- For a full overview of our API definitions, see Twilio API for WhatsApp (Twilio Docs).