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What does A2P 10DLC stand for and why should I care?

The background history of the new requirements for business texting from local phone numbers.

Ellen Sluder avatar
Written by Ellen Sluder
Updated over a week ago

Being A2P compliant is a requirement to send outbound text messages using smrtPhone. Outbound texting is disabled until you are fully registered.

A2P 10DLC (or sometimes just A2P) is the shorthand telecom providers are using to mean being an "authorized" sender of business-related text messages.

You register for A2P10DLC directly through the smrtPhone Trust Center.

In this article you'll find:

Overview: Background on A2P 10DLC

U.S. text/SMS infrastructure was not built to withstand the volume of business texting that occurs today. Plus, this channel is being abused by scammers and spammers - and US Carriers are taking action to protect their consumers.

The carriers have built a new channel specifically for business texting, with promised greater throughput and deliverability. All business texting is required to go through this channel. Carriers consider any text message sent from a technology application to be considered "business texting" even if it is person-to-person. To gain access to this channel, you must have an approved business texting plan and identify which phone numbers from which you will be texting.


Unregistered business text messages will incur higher per-message fees and will be greater targets for review for TCPA violations and potential penalties.

Mobile carriers have started filtering out messages from non-registered numbers. It is an opaque process and there is no warning nor error message if your text does not go through. You would only find out from hearing from your contact that they did not receive it. Further, carriers will not troubleshoot any issues associated with unregistered text messages sent from any application. The message we received was, "Unregistered traffic is expected to fail."

Fines for TCPA violations range from $500 to $2000 for each individual violation. These fees are passed directly to our clients. Any other fines that smrtPhone incurs because of activity on your account will also be your responsibility!

What does "A2P 10DLC" actually stand for?

A2P 10DLC stands for Application-to-Person messaging using a 10-Digit Long Code phone number. Translation to layperson terms: it means you’re using software technology to send text messages using a local phone number.

The alternative methods to A2P 10DLC messaging are:

  • P2P - Person-to-person messaging that happens between two mobile carrier plans.

  • Short code - A five or six-digit number that brands use to push or receive messages. Often they are multi-tenant, with a keyword assigned to each brand. (Example.: “Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.”)

  • Toll-free - using an 800 number

  • OTT - Over-the-Top media service which is direct messaging using the internet (Example: WhatsApp)

A2P 10DLC is a great way for businesses to reach customers because it allows for efficient communications at scale. You use a local, recognizable area code which builds trust as you slide into consumers’ most guarded, urgent inbox.

All text communications on local numbers through any cloud phone system (including smrtPhone) are considered application-to-person (A2P) by mobile carriers who receive and deliver the messages to their subscribers. The move toward verification requirements affects all communication providers.

This change is driven by the receiving carriers and is the new industry standard; it is not specific to smrtPhone. We are here to help guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible to comply with these new standards.

Mobile Carriers Now Require Businesses Who Text To Register

As business-to-consumer texting has increased in popularity, there has been an increase in bad actors who abuse the channel. Because of mounting complaints, the three largest mobile carriers in America (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile/Sprint) have decided to implement a verification method to improve the customer experience.

Short code and toll-free messaging already require verification, and A2P 10DLC verification is the logical next step to build greater trust between businesses and consumers and provide consumers greater control over their message inboxes.

Benefits of Becoming A2P Authorized

As an authorized source of text messages, you will separate yourself from the spammers and scammers, improving the deliverability of text messages and increasing consumer trust. There will be dedicated routes for A2P verified traffic, resulting in improved reliability.

As part of becoming A2P authorized, you will receive a "Trust Score" which states your reputation in the eyes of mobile carriers. Trust scores will be ranked low/medium/high. The better your trust score, the greater your deliverability speed and volume - you can send more messages, faster.

Verification already exists for short codes and toll-free numbers, and studies show increased ROI for verified messages.

Benefits of A2P 10DLC include:

  • Improved deliverability due to separate channel

  • Higher volume/throughput capability than standard local number texting

  • Greater credibility of messages = more likely to garner a response

  • Less expensive than short codes

  • Exclusivity. No sharing of the number with other brands.

  • Voice-enabled numbers mean recipients can call you back if they choose. (Unlike short codes, which do not offer a voice option.)

  • Separated from spammers. Major mobile carriers are committed to keeping scammers separate from your brand.

What happens if I do not register for A2P 10DLC?

There are two main consequences of not registering for A2P 10DLC:

  • Higher per-message fees

  • Greater filtering of messages - no guarantee of delivery

Unregistered traffic will incur an additional $0.004 fee per SMS and between $0.005-0.013 per MMS (depending on receiving carrier). This is in addition to standard text messaging fees.

Messages sent by unverified providers will be subject to heavier filtering by mobile carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. This means they will not be guaranteed to be delivered. If they are delivered, they may be marked as "spam likely" in the recipient's message inbox.

Eventually, not only will these messages be cut off, but carriers have discussed penalty fees for business texting that is unregistered. (Timeline TBD)

❗❗❗ Note: Traffic from local long-codes to US Numbers without an A2P 10DLC tag is expected to fail. Carriers will not take escalations without A2P 10DLC registration.

How do I register?

There are three steps to registering for A2P 10DLC:

  1. Complete a Trust Center business profile to verify your company's information. (Learn how to do this here >>) Approval should take 1 business day, but may be up to 5 days.
    Once your Trust Center profile is approved, you can...

  2. Register your brand for A2P. Approval should take minutes, but could be up to 1 day.
    Once your company brand is registered for A2P, you can...

  3. Select and register for one of the two available A2P plans: Low Volume or Standard Brand. (Learn more about the plan options here>>)

  4. Create campaigns and register phone numbers (Learn more about the process of registration)

Please note: as of October 4, 2022 the previously available "Starter Plan" was deprecated and no new registrations accepted.

Once your plan registration is approved, you can add/edit the phone numbers you'd like to associate with the texting plan/campaign.

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