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A2P 10DLC and Business Text Messages

by Barb Cronin

Read Time: Six Minutes

The telecommunications industry has instituted new, stricter regulations on A2P text messaging. These new regulations, A2P 10DLC, will help to curb unwanted spam and fraudulent text messages for consumers in the United States. 

This is good news for consumers who receive nearly 15 spam text messages per week. But spam isn’t all that’s being addressed in the new A2P 10DLC regulations. Fraudulent texts, which cost consumers $5.8 billion in 2020, will also be more difficult to send. 

While the relief for consumers is a much-needed one, organizations that use text messaging to communicate with their customers and prospects need to understand what this change means for them. Organizations that don’t know about or choose not to follow the new A2P 10DLC regulations could lose money, time, and customers. 

Before we dive into the new A2P 10DLC regulations and what they mean for marketers,  let’s talk about how these regulations have come about. 

In 2021, The Campaign Registry (TCR) was set up to provide all companies (brands, campaign service providers-CSPs and direct connect aggregators-DCAs) with a fair, simplified, and unbiased resource to help work within regulatory best practices that the wireless carriers (Mobile Network Operators or MNOs) have agreed upon. TCR works closely with U.S. Mobile Network Operators and acts as the neutral hub for registering A2P 10DLC text messaging campaigns.

It’s important to understand that these regulations are specifically focused on businesses using text messaging software to communicate with their customers and prospects. Anything that isn’t a phone-to-phone message. 

TCR will be responsible for registering brands and campaigns through campaign service providers. When organizations comply, they are offering total and complete transparency about why they are using bulk text messaging and what they are sending to their audience. 

The goal is to support legitimate businesses that are not abusing bulk text messaging while protecting consumers from both spam and fraudulent texts from questionable senders. 

But what exactly is A2P 10DLC and how does it impact an organization and text messaging campaigns? 

What is A2P 10DLC?

A2P 10DLC graphic showing application-to-person and ten-long-digit-code.

A2P 10DLC is short for application-to-person (A2P) and a ten-digit long code (10DLC). In plain English, 10DLC is a regular ten-digit phone number that can support a large volume of text messages sent from an application (software platform) to a consumer. 

A2P text messages are usually those sent in bulk often with the same or a similar message, Usually, hundreds or thousands of messages are sent in a few minutes. However, all messages being sent from a software platform are included in these new rules.

A2P messages can include: 

  • Marketing messages 
  • Appointment reminders 
  • Chatbots or virtual assistants
  • Notifications
  • One-time passwords (OTPs) or PIN codes

So these seem like good messages to get, what’s the problem? 

Why is a Change Needed? 

The problem is that consumers are receiving a ton of spam and fraudulent text messages every day. Not only does this cause issues for consumers, but it’s also difficult to hold the individuals actually sending these types of messages accountable and separate them from legitimate messages. 

Without the new regulations, many legitimate messages from businesses get blocked when they shouldn’t, posing a problem for both organizations and their customers. 

Graphic showing list of text messages one sent, next blocked, etc.

Let’s look at an example, Ken’s Karate has 75 students signed up to receive text messages regarding schedules, events, etc. These users have agreed to receive these messages and even rely on them. However, before the A2P 10DLC regulations, a carrier like Verizon may see a larger set of messages being sent from the same number with the same body message and block them as spam. 

Not only do the messages not go through but Ken’s Karate is still charged for those non-delivered messages. On top of that, the number or numbers the message was sent from may get blocked by Verizon from sending more texts. Which can put important communications with customers on hold. 

The process to get a number unblocked from one of the major U.S. carriers is grueling, time-consuming, and often unclear. What’s more, when you’re sending bulk messages various carriers are involved. Some messages may go through on one carrier and be blocked on another. Untangling this mess can be more than just burdensome–businesses are frequently losing money while these numbers are blocked from use. 

A2P 10DLC aims to change that and stipulates that any organization sending text messages from a platform must go through a registration and vetting process for both their business and their text campaigns.  

In addition to cutting down on spam and fraud, and supporting legitimate organizations to get their messages delivered, the new regulations also hold senders accountable when there is spam or fraud occurring. A much-welcomed change for the 2.8 million consumers impacted by text fraud in 2020. 

Let’s take a look at the new requirements for A2P 10DLC. 

What are the New Regulations? 

A2P 10DLC requires businesses to go through a three-step process to be compliant. An overview of the process is as follows: 

  1. Business Registration
    • Register your business with your Tax ID (EIN)
  1. Brand Registration
    • Register your brand (one account per one EIN)
  1. Campaign Registration
    • Register your campaigns 

Each step of the process is dependent on the approval of the prior one before being able to move to the next step. While this process may take some time initially, the payoffs for both organizations and consumers are huge. 

If you are a CallTrackingMetrics customer, you can register through our Trust Center today. If not, you can register through TCR or your campaign service provider (CSP), or direct connect aggregator (DCA). 

4 of the Main Benefits of A2P 10DLC for Organizations

Images of individuals looking at their phones and sending text messages.

Organizations that follow these guidelines will experience important benefits, however, as with all changes, especially regulatory ones, there can be a bit of anxiety. Organizations sending bulk text messages may be worried if their campaigns and customer communications will be impacted. 

Rest assured that organizations that follow these guidelines will experience important benefits and see more success with marketing text messages than those who choose not to do so. 

Here are four of the main benefits of A2P 10DLC for organizations:

  1. Higher Deliverability Rate

When organizations register and comply with the new regulations, they are more likely to see a higher deliverability rate for their messages. This is because, once the business and campaigns are registered and approved, they will not get blocked as spam or fraud. 

  1. Lowered Costs

 Not only are more messages actually delivered, but organizations are also no longer paying for large numbers of text messages blocked by carriers. When you’re fully registered and have approved campaigns, these messages will go through and you won’t be wasting money on undelivered messages. 

  1. No More Blocked Numbers Hassles

Part of the registration and vetting process is that all ten-digit numbers used to send text messages are registered. When carriers know which numbers are legitimately sending approved texts they won’t block them and organizations won’t have to deal with the cumbersome process of getting them *unblocked. 

*It’s important to note that those organizations that currently have numbers blocked by carriers will not be able to use them with A2P 10 DLC until they are unblocked. 

  1. Streamlined Communication with Customers 

Once registered, you not only get the same, much sought-after high deliverability rates as with shortcodes, you can now use this same number for calls and texts eliminating the need for high-priced shortcodes. This makes it easier–and more budget-friendly– to engage with your customers on the channels best for them using just one number.

In addition to these benefits, in the near future, texts from these registered and vetted organizations will allow businesses to send branded messages. Another plus for organizations and consumers alike. 

CTM and A2P 10DLC

CallTrackingMetrics logo with boxes checked showing compliance with A2P, Stir/Shaken, and TCPA.

At CTM, our team of engineers is the best in the industry and always keeps us ahead of the curve. Our teams continually work together to drive stronger connections for businesses and the customers they serve. Just as we began our GA4 integration early on, we have also been supporting our customers with the adoption of A2P 10DLC since April 2021. 

CTM customers can begin the process of registering here. If you’re new to CTM and want to learn more about us, check out this short video on how call tracking can maximize your marketing budget. Or if you want to learn more about A2P 10DLC check out these resources: 

Trust Center Registration FAQs

Text Messaging Best Practices from CTIA