SMS Numbers and Traffic Types Explained

SMS Numbers and Traffic Types Explained

The types of numbers you use to send text messages can have a big impact on message deliverability.
Business SMS is governed by strict regulations — and there are significant penalties for getting it wrong. So it’s more important than ever to understand which option is best for your use case.

Which number type should I choose?

Long codes (long virtual numbers, LVNs or long numbers) are 10-digit phone numbers meant for customer service and operational purposes. Long codes can be used for both person-to-person (P2P) or application-to-person (A2P) use cases like chat applications and customer service. These are peer-to-peer messages, so they shouldn’t be used for mass marketing campaigns.
Short codes (common short code or CSC) are 5- or 6-digit phone numbers that customers can lease from the Common Short Code Administration. Best practice when using short code SMS is to explicitly ask for opt-ins. Example use cases include password resets and alerts.
Toll-free SMS is used to send text messages from toll-free numbers. Unlike short codes, toll-free numbers can support both phone calls and SMS, so customers can respond to an SMS alert by texting or calling the same number back. Example use cases include appointment reminders, account notifications and critical alerts.
Alphanumeric Sender IDs mean you can send messages using a custom ID constructed from a combination of alpha (a-z, A-Z) and numeric (0-9) characters as well as spaces. This makes the sender identifiable to the receiver, as companies can set their brand name as the ID (e.g., TELNYX). It's commonly used for sending one-way text messages, as the person receiving the message will be unable to reply with an Alphanumeric Sender ID.

Which traffic type is best for my use case?

Telnyx will allow you to select the traffic type that best suits your usage. This will be either A2P or P2P:
A2P messages are sent from an application to a person on the other end. A2P messaging is usually used to deliver high-volume automated alerts, notifications or reminders.
P2P messages are commonly sent from one person to another. Customer support is a good use case, where agents are responding to customer queries.
Not sure which type applies to you? CTIA’s Messaging Principles and Best Practices offer a set of recommendations to help guide your decision.

To view and change your traffic type:

  1. Sign in to the Telnyx Mission Control Portal.
  2. Click on Numbers in the navigation menu on the left-hand side of the portal.
  3. Click the Routing button [⇄] next to the number you want to check.
  4. Under Messaging Properties, you’ll see your Traffic Type for that number.
  5. To change your traffic type, select either the A2P or P2P radio button and then click Save Changes.
Note: The ability to choose traffic type only applies to numbers eligible for both A2P and P2P traffic.

You can purchase numbers from Telnyx and start sending texts in a matter of minutes. Follow our easy setup guide to get started.
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