What is 10DLC and Why Does it Matter?

What is 10DLC and Why Does it Matter?

10 DLC Numbers and Messaging

Updated April 22, 2024

Mobile messaging has quickly become the #1 way that people elect to receive communications. In the past decade, there’s been a massive shift away from phone calls — and their effectiveness continues to fall year after year.

Instead, businesses and organizations across all industries are turning to mass texting to effectively communicate important information and marketing to their audiences.

Every day, we’re seeing creative ways that companies make use of A2P messaging to connect with people. A2P, or “application to person,” is an industry term used to reference sending text messages to individuals programmatically from computers. If you’ve ever received a marketing text or an SMS reminder from your doctor’s office, it was likely an A2P text message.

While use cases have consistently grown and evolved, there has been a slower evolution with the messaging services that support them. That changed with the introduction of 10DLC messaging.

What is 10DLC?

10DLC stands for “10-digit long code.” Also known as “commercial long codes,” these phone numbers are becoming the new standard in A2P text messaging for many organizations. While it may sound confusing, it’s actually quite simple. A 10DLC number is just a standard 10-digit phone number that supports the high volume messaging throughput required for business use cases.

When the first version of 10-digit A2P messaging came out many years ago, it was only designed for very low throughput and simple one-on-one communications. As use cases for business text messaging and SMS marketing have grown, so has the demand for these messaging services. 10 DLC SMS is the next generation of A2P text messaging that addresses this specific need.

Why 10DLC?

There are several reasons why the messaging industry decided to create 10DLC SMS, but it really comes down to a few specific things… messaging volume, accountability, and new business opportunities. Let’s go deeper and explore each.

Messaging Volume

Currently, there are only a few options other than 10DLC for sending A2P text messages. You can either use standard long codes, toll-free long codes, or short codes. Each has its pros and cons.

Short codes are five or six-digit numbers that support extremely high-volume messaging and are used primarily for SMS marketing and mass text alerts. With short codes, you can send millions of text messages per day at rates up to 500 per second. They can be quite expensive and range anywhere from $850 to $1,500 per month just for the number. Up until 10DLC numbers, short codes were the only A2P messaging channel that supported large text blasts. They require a formal application process, a 6- to 10-week waiting period, and do not support phone calls.

Toll-free long codes are standard toll-free phone numbers that support text messaging and phone calls. While they are an alternative for some businesses that cannot foot the bill for their own short code, they only send at a rate of 3 messages per second and are limited to a few thousand texts per day.

Local long codes are normal, everyday 10-digit local phone numbers. They can only send at a rate of 1 message per second and only support sending a few hundred messages per day. They are really only meant for 1-to-1, transactional messaging and phone calls.

So, after a quick review of these three options for sending A2P messaging, it’s obvious that there isn’t an affordable solution other than 10DLC for sending mass quantities of text messages. Short codes are great, but with the monthly cost for just the number alone, it’s not feasible for many businesses. Additionally, they don’t support voice, so phone calls are out of the question. As a result, 10DLC text messaging is the top choice for A2P messaging.

10 DLC numbers were created to support a medium-to-high volume rate of sending that is between toll-free numbers and short codes. Discussions with carriers and other industry leaders indicated that 10DLCs should be capable of sending around 100,000 text messages per month with a send rate of between ~10 text messages per second. Additionally, the cost per month is approximately $10.


With short codes being the only true way of sending mass text messages at scale, how do businesses make use of their power in an affordable way? They share them. Or at least they used to.

Shared short codes were standard, everyday short codes that were used by many brands. In some cases, thousands of brands used a single number.

While this worked for years, there was an inherent problem that the carriers experienced with shared short codes. If someone was sending spam or violating their guidelines, it was much more difficult to identify who was at fault. Furthermore, in order to shut them down, they had to shut the entire short code down, which would terminate thousands of other innocent text programs.

10DLC SMS aimed to solve this specific issue as each business or organization would have its own dedicated number. At just a few dollars per month and the ability to send high volumes of numbers, these commercial long codes are the perfect solution to message volume and accountability issues.

Shared Short Code Phase-Out

In 2021, AT&T and T-Mobile announced they would no longer support new shared short codes. The regulation included a phase-out warning for users of shared short codes. Any brand on a shared short code was given substantial time to transition messaging operations to their own dedicated short code or to a 10DLC phone number. Ultimately, this change was made to reduce the risk of spam from illegitimate businesses, increase sender reputation for upstanding brands, and eliminate deliverability issues across the board.

New Business Opportunities

Cellular carriers are in the business of making money. Anyone who worked in the mobile messaging space could see the gaping hole of opportunity between toll-free numbers and short codes. Before 10DLC, businesses had very limited options for sending messages at scale.

Carriers used to make little money on long-code messaging, but they make much more on 10DLC SMS messaging. More dollars in the pockets of the carriers will keep the shareholders happy.

Features of 10DLC Numbers

Now that we understand what 10 DLC is, why the messaging industry built it out, and the entire backstory, let’s take a closer look at what features and functionality you can expect with this new messaging channel.

Higher messaging throughput

With the new 10DLC numbers, you can expect much higher messaging throughput than on either local or toll-free long codes. It doesn’t have the same capabilities as short codes regarding send rates, but it will satisfy most business needs as far as mass text messaging.

Lower costs

As stated before, 10DLC numbers are relatively low in cost compared to short codes and run only a few dollars per month per number. As far as the cost per message, it is more expensive than standard long code messaging but not for sending with short codes.

A dedicated line

The new 10DLC text messaging solution offers people the ability to have dedicated numbers. Again, this is pretty much due to their low cost. This is a large plus for those who want strict control of what types of messages are being sent with the number they use. One bad apple can’t spoil the bunch. Additionally, businesses can provision their landlines as 10DLC numbers so that they can send and receive text messages with their existing numbers.


Unlike short codes, 10DLC numbers are confirmed to support voice as well. This allows you to send and receive text messages on the same number that people can simply pick up the phone and dial. This creates a much more cohesive experience for consumers who are interacting with their favorite businesses and brands.

10DLC Update as of Summer 2023

In July 2023, new 10DLC regulations were released. The new regulations stated that unregistered 10DLC numbers would no longer be allowed for messaging consumers. By September of that same year, every 10DLC phone number had to be registered with the mobile carriers or risk message blocking.

Our platform has been updated to help users apply for 10DLC registration. If you face any issues with getting your brand’s 10DLC registration approved, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.