Messaging • Last Updated 5/7/2024

What is 10DLC? Everything you need to know

Master affordable high-volume messaging by leveraging 10DLC for unmatched SMS delivery and compliance.


By Emily Bowen

10DLC campaign message on green background

In business communication, SMS and MMS messaging have proven to be powerful tools to reach customers directly. But how do you ensure your messages are delivered efficiently and compliantly?

A2P (application-to-person) texting allows businesses to communicate en masse without the tediousness of manual texting. But as the demand for A2P grows, so does the need for more efficient, compliant, and cost-effective solutions.

That's where 10DLC comes into play. 10DLC is the evolution of A2P messaging created in direct response to the industry's call for those efficient, compliant, and cost-effective solutions. Adopting 10DLC means you're aligning with a framework designed to optimize A2P messaging. The result? Enhanced reach, higher delivery rates, better compliance, and cost savings.

Recognizing the importance of 10DLC is essential for anyone involved in business messaging. In this blog post, we'll highlight its pivotal role in the A2P communication landscape and how it directly shapes the effectiveness and compliance of your messaging strategies. Stay informed and ahead of the curve by understanding the nuances of 10DLC.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC (10-digit long code) numbers are local long code numbers that mobile network operators approve for A2P messaging. This approval comes about by registering the local long code number with a verified 10DLC brand and campaign.

A 10DLC-registered long code number can support moderately large volumes of text messages. Carriers in the U.S. are implementing requirements that all A2P messaging uses 10DLC-registered numbers on their networks.

To fully understand 10DLC and its benefits, let’s take a look at how business text messaging has evolved over the years.

Evolution of business messaging

Until the late 2010s, many phone number types weren’t specifically designed to send mass SMS messages, which presented challenges like:

  • Limited reach
  • Potential compliance issues
  • Inefficiencies in communication.

In subsequent years, telecom providers and regulatory bodies addressed these challenges by collaborating to introduce phone numbers optimized for bulk messaging.

Currently, the most common and cost-effective way for businesses to send SMS and MMS messages to customers is A2P (application-to-person) texting. A2P removes the manual labor of texting and enables businesses to send text messages in bulk.

Most American organizations can send messages from three types of numbers:

1. Toll-free long codes

Toll-free numbers are an affordable option for two-way SMS in moderately large volumes. Toll-free long code numbers can send and receive thousands of messages per day at high throughput rates. They’re also great for branding. Businesses can use number search tools to find branded vanity toll-free numbers (such as 1-866-FASHION).

Toll-free long code numbers require registration, and some carriers make the registration process complex and lengthy. Be sure to choose a carrier that makes registering and verifying your numbers simple. It's also worth noting that toll-free numbers can sometimes resemble international (non-US) numbers to your customers, limiting your campaign's engagement.

2. Short codes

Short code numbers are ideal for ultra-high volume traffic, like large-scale marketing campaigns from a custom recognizable number. While they boast impressive throughput, they come with a hefty price tag for setup and maintenance.

Additionally, their inability to handle phone calls can be a limitation for businesses seeking multi-channel communication. Despite supporting two-way messaging, the costs and restrictions often make businesses seek alternatives.

3. 10DLC numbers

While short codes are tailored for ultra-high volume traffic, they’re also burdened with significant setup costs and an inability to handle phone calls. And local long code phone numbers—primarily designed for person-to-person (P2P) texting—are limited in their messaging volume. Using them for A2P messaging can also breach CTIA guidelines, leading to compliance concerns.

10DLC was created to bridge those gaps. It addresses the volume and compliance challenges of local long codes and sidesteps short codes' high costs and limitations. With 10DLC, businesses can harness the strengths of both channels without their inherent drawbacks, positioning 10DLC as the optimal choice for contemporary A2P messaging.

Benefits of 10DLC

10DLC numbers offer businesses a powerful combination: the ability to send mass text messages efficiently while keeping overhead costs low. Here's what sets 10DLC apart:

Higher SMS message volumes and increased throughput

10DLC numbers can send SMS message volumes that bridge the gap between the limits of short codes and toll-free long codes. This increased throughput ensures your messages are sent swiftly, reaching your audience when it matters most.

For a deeper dive into 10DLC use cases and throughput rules, see our 10DLC knowledge base.

Lower costs with added flexibility

10DLC numbers come with a more affordable price tag than other number types, which makes them an ideal choice for businesses that either can't justify the cost of a short code or simply don't need one. What's more, businesses can convert their existing landlines to 10DLC numbers, allowing them to send more messages without incurring the cost of an additional number.

For a comprehensive breakdown of 10DLC-associated costs, check out our support guide on 10DLC fees and charges.

Better deliverability and compliance

10DLC numbers have the advantage of being pre-approved by mobile network operators. Pre-approval ensures higher delivery rates and better compliance with carrier regulations, ensuring your messages reach their intended recipients without any hitches.

To learn more about 10DLC compliance and user experience, read our 10DLC compliance blog post.

Who should consider using 10DLC?

10DLC isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but it caters to a wide range of businesses with specific needs.

Companies that want to balance volume and cost

If your business sends out a volume of messages that falls between the capacity of short codes and toll-free long codes, 10DLC is an ideal choice. It offers the flexibility of higher throughput without the high costs associated with short codes. To help you navigate the landscape of messaging options, check out this comprehensive guide to different number types and their throughput capacities.

Enterprises that need cost-effective messaging

For businesses that find short codes too expensive but need more capability than a regular long code, 10DLC offers a cost-effective alternative. 10DLC’s monthly costs are lower than dedicated short codes, making it an affordable choice for many.

Organizations that want to ensure compliance

With increasing regulations around messaging, businesses need to ensure they're compliant to avoid penalties. Since 10DLC numbers are pre-approved by mobile network operators, they reduce their risk of non-compliance.

Brands seeking better delivery rates

For businesses that have consistently encountered message deliverability barriers, 10DLC offers a distinct advantage. Its pre-approved status by mobile network operators eliminates the common delivery hurdles faced with other messaging formats. Skipping those hurdles means fewer undelivered messages, reduced chances of being flagged as spam, and a higher likelihood that your communications will land directly in the recipient's inbox, making 10DLC a transformative solution for business messaging.

Businesses looking for flexibility

10DLC provides a seamless transition for businesses looking to convert existing landlines to a format suitable for bulk messaging. So you can maintain your existing number while benefiting from the capabilities of 10DLC.

If your business experiences fluctuating messaging volumes, 10DLC also offers the flexibility to scale up or down based on your needs without incurring prohibitive costs.

When it comes to balancing cost, volume, deliverability, and compliance, 10DLC stands out as a top contender. However, it's crucial to evaluate your specific needs, messaging volume, and budget to determine if 10DLC is the right fit for you.

Get started with 10DLC

In today's world, where billions of SMS messages are sent daily, 10DLC offers businesses a reliable channel with faster delivery speeds and higher throughput. Instead of getting lost in the noise, with 10DLC, your messages stand a better chance of reaching their intended recipients promptly and efficiently.

With our industry-leading 10DLC registration and management tools, Telnyx can help your business integrate 10DLC into your messaging strategy. Our approvals process is swift, taking just 72 hours—a stark contrast to competitors that take up to 20 days.

Our Mission Control Portal and self-serve APIs offer a user-friendly experience, allowing you to easily register brands and campaigns for 10DLC. Beyond the technicalities, our deep understanding of the messaging domain ensures your 10DLC strategy is effective and compliant with industry standards.

For businesses already leveraging SMS communication, our comprehensive API support and dedicated messaging team are here to guide you through the nuances of 10DLC. Moreover, our competitive pricing model ensures your investment in 10DLC yields substantial returns.

At Telnyx, we believe in empowering businesses to communicate better, reach wider audiences, and foster stronger customer relationships.

Contact our team of experts to start the 10DLC approval process and start reaching more customers.

Share on Social

Sign up for emails of our latest articles and news

Related articles

Sign up and start building.