Messaging • Last Updated 3/29/2024

[Quiz] Toll-free SMS vs. 10DLC: Which should you use?

Learn the key differences between toll-free SMS and 10DLC to determine which messaging option best suits your business needs.


By Emily Bowen

Navigating business messaging can be complicated. But understanding the difference between toll-free SMS and 10DLC—and choosing the best option for your use case—can simplify the process and improve your outcomes. Connecting with your customers quickly and efficiently is essential. Whether you’re sending timely promotions or providing instant customer support, the right messaging strategy can make or break your success.

In this post, you'll learn about toll-free SMS and 10DLC, including their benefits and how to choose the right option for your business needs. Whether you're leaning toward the broad reach and professionalism of toll-free numbers or the local touch and cost-effectiveness of 10DLC, we’ve got you covered.

What is toll-free SMS?

Toll-free SMS enables businesses to send and receive texts through a recognizable 1-800 number. This service facilitates two-way messaging and integrates easily with customer service lines. One of its standout features is the delivery of handset receipts, which confirm that messages reach their intended recipient. For companies prioritizing customer service, toll-free SMS provides a reliable and trusted channel for customer engagement.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC stands for 10-digit long code, a standard phone number format businesses use for high-volume, application-to-person (A2P) SMS messaging. This option supports mass messaging at a lower cost than traditional shortcodes, making it an excellent choice for localized marketing efforts and businesses operating on a national scale needing multiple numbers. It’s the go-to for achieving a personal touch in customer communications without breaking the bank.

Buy toll-free numbers or buy and register 10DLC numbers via the Telnyx Mission Control Portal.

When to use toll-free SMS

Opt for toll-free SMS when your business demands high-reliability messaging with delivery confirmations.

If your strategy involves integrating text messaging services with an existing toll-free customer service number, this option offers a cohesive experience for your customers.

Toll-free SMS is also a good choice for companies that place a high value on customer interactions and want to maintain a high level of professionalism and accessibility.

When 10DLC makes more sense

If your business model benefits from using local numbers to foster a sense of community or requires managing a large volume of numbers efficiently, 10DLC is your ideal choice.

It’s particularly effective for large-scale marketing campaigns where cost considerations are paramount.

The local appeal of 10DLC can significantly enhance engagement by leveraging the familiarity and trust associated with local numbers.

Toll-free vs. 10DLC: A snapshot

When deciding between toll-free SMS and 10DLC, consider your main goals. If you prioritize customer service and want to provide a reliable, professional communication channel, toll-free SMS is the way to go, thanks to its 1-800 numbers and delivery confirmations.

However, if your focus is on cost-effective, high-volume messaging with a local touch, 10DLC's lower costs and local numbers make it the better choice, especially for large marketing campaigns.

FeatureToll-free SMS10DLC
DefinitionEnables businesses to send and receive texts through a 1-800 number, supporting two-way messaging and integration with customer service lines.10-digit long code used for high-volume A2P SMS messaging at a lower cost than traditional short codes.
Ideal use caseBest for businesses requiring reliable messaging with delivery confirmations and those integrating SMS with toll-free customer service numbers.Suited for businesses needing local numbers for community engagement or managing large volumes of numbers, especially for large-scale marketing.
Key features- Recognizable 1-800 numbers
- Two-way messaging
- Integrates with customer service lines
- Delivery of handset receipts
- Standard phone number format
- Supports mass messaging at lower costs
- Ideal for localized marketing and national operations
Benefits- Reliable, trusted channel for customer engagement
- Maintains professionalism and accessibility
- Provides handset delivery confirmations
- Cost-effective for high-volume messaging
- Achieves a personal touch with local numbers
- Enhances engagement with the familiarity of local numbers
When to use- High priority on customer service interactions
- Need for a cohesive experience with toll-free customer service numbers
- Use of local numbers to build community sense
- Managing a large volume of numbers efficiently
- Large-scale marketing campaigns with cost considerations
  • Go for toll-free SMS if professionalism and quick responses matter to them.
  • Choose 10DLC if you aim to connect on a more personal, local level.

Your decision should match your communication strategy, considering what's most important: cost, reach, or customer interaction style.

Quick quiz: Is 10DLC or toll-free right for you?

Take this quiz to find out which messaging option may be right for you:

  1. How would you describe the volume of messages your business sends?

    • A) We're all about those mass broadcasts—the more, the merrier.
    • B) It's a mix—some days are quiet, others are like a texting marathon.
    • C) More personal and low-volume. We prefer quality over quantity.
  2. What's the main goal of your messaging campaign?

    • A) Customer support that makes our users feel like VIPs.
    • B) Marketing blasts that hit harder than a double espresso.
    • C) A bit of everything—support, marketing, and alerts.
  3. How important is it for your number to be easily recognizable and memorable to customers?

    • A) Very important—our number is part of our brand.
    • B) Somewhat important—but we're flexible.
    • C) Not a big deal—as long as the message gets through.
  4. Pick a scenario that best fits your message content.

    • A) Urgent updates and alerts that need immediate attention.
    • B) Promotions and offers that make our customers feel special.
    • C) Customer service conversations that solve problems fast.
  5. How critical is message delivery speed for your business?

    • A) Lightning fast—every second counts.
    • B) Quick, but we can deal with a little delay.
    • C) Speed is nice, but reliability matters more.
  6. When it comes to compliance and regulations, how do you feel?

    • A) Bring it on—we've got everything in order and compliant.
    • B) A necessary evil—we manage, but it's a headache.
    • C) Can be challenging—we're cautious and prefer simpler solutions.
  7. What's your budget like for messaging services?

    • A) Sky's the limit—we're willing to invest in the best.
    • B) Moderate—we're looking for value.
    • C) Tight—every penny counts.
  8. Finally, choose a way to sign off your messages:

    • A) With a branded emoji that everyone recognizes.
    • B) A catchy slogan that sticks in your mind.
    • C) A personal touch, like signing off with the rep's name.

Get your results

Mostly As

Toll-free might be your best bet. You're aiming for high visibility, memorable numbers, and possibly a higher messaging volume. Toll-free numbers support large-scale marketing campaigns and offer the speed and reliability you're looking for with a professional touch.

Mostly Bs

You're somewhere in the middle, so either option could work depending on specific needs like volume, speed, and budget. Consider the specific features and costs of both 10DLC and toll-free services to find the perfect fit.

Mostly Cs

10DLC is likely the way to go. It's ideal for businesses focusing on personalized, low-volume messaging. 10DLC numbers can help maintain a local presence and ensure compliance with regulations, all while keeping costs down.

Note: This quiz offers a fun, simplified way to think about your messaging strategy. It’s not legal or professional advice. Contact a Telnyx expert if you need help deciding which messaging option is right for you.

Get started with the messaging strategy that works best for you

Depending on your specific needs and goals, both toll-free and 10DLC messaging options are valid and can effectively connect you with your customers.

When choosing between toll-free and 10DLC messaging for your business, you want to partner with a provider that understands the nuances of each service and offers tailored support and solutions to ensure your success. Telnyx stands out by providing exceptional value in both areas, backed by our commitment to unparalleled customer support and deep industry expertise.

For businesses leaning towards toll-free messaging, Telnyx has a unique edge due to our Toll-Free Verification API, which some competitors haven’t yet implemented. This tool has enabled our customers to dramatically reduce the time spent on the verification process by up to 80%, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. Toll-free messaging with Telnyx promises reliability and delivers substantial savings—customers see up to 50% saving on messaging costs.

If 10DLC messaging aligns more closely with your needs, Telnyx ensures a frictionless experience with fast registration times and comprehensive campaign registration support. Our user-friendly Mission Control Portal will guide you through the 10DLC setup process, with built-in help and guidance every step of the way. This approach simplifies compliance and campaign management and accelerates your go-to-market strategy, allowing you to leverage 10DLC's benefits—such as local presence and cost-effective messaging—at scale.

Whether you choose toll-free or 10DLC messaging, choosing Telnyx means you’ll see significant savings on messaging expenses. Our competitive pricing, superior customer support, and technical expertise position Telnyx as a preferred partner for businesses aiming to enhance their messaging strategies effectively and efficiently.

Contact our team of experts to get started with superior messaging service at a competitive cost.

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