green screen with text-to-speech message from a2p10dlc compliant company

A2P 10DLC: Everything you need to know

Yasmeily Toledo PerdomoLast updated on March 21, 2024
7 min

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Of the many communication channels connecting brands with customers, SMS text messaging is one of the most popular. It enables real-time message delivery, boosts engagement and is cost-effective. However, text messages are susceptible to smishing and other attempts at fraud. This is where the A2P 10DLC regulations come in. Complying with these regulations builds a trusted brand image for customers and helps fight against fraud.

A2P 10DLC regulations may sound complex and complicated, but the registration process is fairly simple. Compliance was initially optional but has become a requirement as of August 2023. So, let’s understand what it is all about and what you need to do.

What is A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC stands for Application-to-Person (A2P) type messaging via 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers. There are two elements to understand here:

  • Application-to-Person (A2P) type messaging

  • 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone numbers

A2P messaging refers to messages sent to customers from a business application interface rather than the standard texting app on a cell phone. It may also be known as cloud phone SMS. In contrast, P2P messaging refers to messages exchanged between two mobile phones. While A2P messaging may be automated, P2P messaging is not automated.

Carriers in the US qualify text messages sent through Aircall as A2P messages, these messages may be used for notifications, brand promotions, SMS for identity verification purposes, customer support messages, surveys, and so on.

The second element refers to the type of number used to send an SMS. Businesses can use phone numbers with a local area code or toll-free numbers. 10DLC refers to the former, i.e. a phone number with 10 digits: e.g. 555-123-4567 or 212-123-4567.

What is 10DLC compliance?

10DLC regulations were introduced by US wireless carriers in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). This is a set of regulations governing how businesses use 10-digit telephone numbers to send text messages to customers. The goal here is to keep scammers from impersonating legitimate businesses and maintaining a clean, effective communication channel. 

Here are the key requirements when it comes to A2P 10DLC compliance:

  • Businesses must register with The Campaign Registry.

  • Businesses must prove that their contacts have opted-in to receive texts from them.

  • The message content does not fall into any of the forbidden message categories. For example, irrespective of local legislation, messages referring to payday loans and third-party collections are forbidden. 

The need for A2P 10DLC compliance 

Today, a business can easily get a virtual 10-digit long code. This looks and acts like a regular phone number used for P2P messaging but can be operated from an application and used to send automated messages. This is convenient for business text messaging but increases the risk of fraud.  

Scammers impersonating your business may use text messaging to trick users into sharing sensitive information, downloading malware and more. This is a loss not only for customers but also for your brand equity. 76% of organizations experienced smishing attacks in 2022 alone.  It is concerning statistics like this that drove the evolution of A2P 10DLC regulations. 

10DLC registration has several benefits:

  • Registered numbers can support a higher volume of text messages

  • Registration builds goodwill among mobile carriers and increases deliverability

  • It helps avoid unintentional spam filtering

  • Using a registered local phone number for SMS campaigns increases customer engagement

What happens if you don’t comply with 10DLC regulations?

A2P 10DLC compliance is no longer an option for businesses wanting to run SMS campaigns. Failure to comply with these regulations can disrupt your campaigns and result in:

1. Higher messaging fees

In a bid to encourage 10DLC compliance,  major carriers in the United States have increased their 10DLC pass-through surcharge fees. The fees for unregistered traffic can be up to 4X the fees for registered messages. This will have a significant impact on the per-text messaging cost as well as your overall messaging ROI. 

2. Increased filtering

A2P 10DLC-compliant businesses experience zero filtering before they send out text message campaigns. On the other hand, messages sent by unregistered businesses must pass through a number of filters before they are sent out. This includes verifying the opt-in and opt-out methods and the message content. This kind of filtering can affect message delivery even to customers who have opted-in for text communication with a legitimate brand.  

3. Lower business credibility

With the growing popularity of business messages comes an unfortunate increase in spam incidents, hence the need to establish credibility with mobile carriers and consumers. Businesses that fail to comply with A2P 10DLC regulations will not receive a Trust Score from carriers. As a result, your brand could be identified as spam even though it isn’t. 

4. Trust Score and its impact on messaging campaigns

Every brand registered with The Campaign Registry is assigned a Trust Score from 0 to 100. This score determines the number of messages you can send in a second. That said, these message per second (MPS) limits may differ by campaign type and messaging providers. Here’s a quick example for standard use-case campaigns.

Trust scoreTotal SMS MPS for major US networksTotal SMS MPS for minor US networks

How do I register?

The A2P 10DLC registration process is split into two stages. First, the brand must be registered with The Campaign Registry. This is the authority handling the registration of all A2P 10DLC campaigns. It keeps track of all 10DLC SMS campaigns by recording sender details, campaign content, regulatory compliance, etc. 

Once that has been done, a campaign must be registered to define the type of messages that are likely to be included in the SMS campaign. Aircall is the single point of contact through this process for all its subscribers. The registration form is available under the support tab, and Aircall will provide automatic updates as your application moves through the registration process. However, if your Aircall number is configured to send text messages through an external partner, the registration process must be initiated by them.

Registering a brand for SMS A2P 10DLC

Any company or individual using Aircall to send messages must register for A2P 10DLC. The registration form is available through the Aircall Support portal. Here’s a quick overview of the types of businesses subject to A2P 10DLC registration: 

Direct brands

Direct brands are companies that send text messages related to their own products and services. This includes promotional messages, order updates, and so on. 

Independent Software Vendors

These are companies that provide messaging services for other businesses. 

Sole proprietors

This refers to individuals that send SMS for personal communication, hobbyists and small businesses who do not have a tax ID. Sole proprietors typically send lower volumes of text messages (less than 6,000 texts per day). 

You will need to fill in your brand name as it is known to customers, the company name as listed on tax returns, the 9-digit EIN, your website, phone numbers, your address and use case. A one-time $4 standard brand registration fee is payable. 

Campaign registration

This is required to establish the types of text messages that the brand intends to send. Brands can define one or more campaigns as per their requirements. Each campaign use case must be registered independently. The most commonly used campaign use cases include:

Low volume

Text messaging with very low throughput requirements, mainly for small businesses and demo accounts.


This includes various sub-use cases such as two-factor authentication, delivery notifications, polls, security alerts, promotional announcements, fraud alerts and customer support. 


This is ideal for brands wanting to send varied text messages with high throughput. 

Each campaign requires a 40-character campaign name and a description. You will also need to provide a message flow, two to three sample messages, subscriber opt-in and opt-out messages and Help messages. Up to 50 phone numbers can be included in a single campaign. 

Low-volume and mixed-use case campaign registrations come with a $2 monthly fee while standard use-case registrations are billed $10 a month. Additional campaign registration fees and optional vetting fees may also be applied by different carriers. 

Campaign vetting and approval

It can be anywhere between five working days and thirty days for a campaign to be approved. Once a campaign is vetted, the phone numbers listed in it are officially registered and brands can start to send messages. 

A2P 10DLC for your business

10DLC phone numbers are the most popular choice for business texting. Using a phone and communication platform like Aircall makes SMS campaigns easier to run. Aircall lets businesses get a local phone number anywhere in the USA — even if they don’t yet have a physical presence in that area. Aircall facilitates SMS business messaging, but first, businesses should make sure they comply with A2P 10DLC industry-standard guidelines. 

A2P 10DLC compliance has multi-faceted benefits for businesses. As verified senders, businesses enjoy higher throughputs and improved deliverability. It also lowers the risk of being filtered as spam, builds credibility with customers, improves cost-efficiency and more. A2P 10DLC may sound like a complex alphabet soup, so let Aircall help you through the compliance process. Once you register your brand and campaign, you can set up your SMS campaigns and forge a deeper connection with your audience.

Published on March 21, 2024.

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