SMS Short Code Services

Secure a unique SMS short code for your business or organization.

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What is an SMS Short Code?

A short code is a 5 or 6 digit phone number that is used by businesses and organizations to send and receive text messages at scale. People opt into SMS marketing or mass text messaging programs by texting a word or phrase known as a "keyword" to a short code. They are specifically meant to be shorter than a normal phone number to make it easier for individuals to remember when opting into text programs.

In addition to making the opt in process easier, short codes are capable of sending extremely high volumes of text messages in a short period of time. This makes them the optimal choice for businesses looking to reach large amounts of people.

Example of an SMS short code message on an iPhone

The Different Types of Short Codes

There are two different types of SMS short codes used for mass texting. You have shared and dedicated codes. While that sounds simple, there are some important details to consider before securing your 5 digit text number.

Sample shared short code text message

Shared Short Codes

Shared codes are simply any short code that multiple businesses or brands use. Organizations normally share short codes because of their cost. Typically, they will run anywhere between $750 and $1,500 per month depending on their type. Sharing allows companies who aren't willing to pay the large price tag, or who are new to SMS marketing, the ability to launch an SMS program for a much lower cost.

Because people opt into text messaging programs using keywords, the "pool" of available keywords for any business to use becomes limited as more people share a single number. Most SMS short code services make use of shared codes for all of their users.

Dedicated Short Codes

Dedicated codes are ones that are used only by a single business or brand. You typically see dedicated SMS short codes being used by larger companies, ones that have the additional budget, or that need access to any and all possible keywords. Because they are used by one organization only, they're not sharing the pool of available keywords with anyone else. Additionally, you have full control over what types of text messages are sent through your number. Unlike shared codes, you don't have to rely on the short code service provider to ensure other people's text programs are compliant with laws and regulations.

There are two type of dedicated short codes. You have random and vanity. Random codes are just what you may think. When you apply for a short code, a random 5 or 6 digit text number is assigned to you. Alternatively, just like a license plate, you have the option of getting a vanity code as well. This allows you to choose what the number will be. Vanity codes are more expensive than shared because the U.S. Short Code Administration charges a premium for you to be able to select and maintain a number of your choosing.

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Sample text message from a dedicated short code service

Benefits of a Dedicated SMS Short Code

While dedicated short codes represent an additional cost to your SMS marketing program, there are several benefits that can make them worthwhile.

Choose your own text message short code number

Choose Your Own Number

Make opting into your SMS marketing program even easier with a dedicated vanity short code. Having a memorable, easy to read number will have a meaningful impact on your opt-in performance and engagement rates.

No SMS keyword restrictions

No Keyword Restrictions

Do you need a specific keyword… or a large volume of keywords for your text marketing program? A dedicated SMS short code gives you the flexibility to use any keyword possible and an unlimited number of them.

Control the messaging content on your shortcode

Control Your Messaging

With dedicated codes, you're in full control of what types of messages are being sent on your number. Maintain a spotless image without worry of brand confusion or carrier violations by sharing with others.

Dedicated SMS messaging throughput on all short codes

Dedicated Throughput

For SMS programs that require high levels of throughput, either inbound or outbound, dedicated short codes provide the support and scalability you need to handle mass text messaging programs at large scale.

How to get an SMS short code

How to Get a Short Code

Getting your own short code can be complex as there are several steps from beginning all the way to having it up and running. The good news is that SlickText will handle 100% of it for you at no additional charge. With that said, it's still helpful to understand what the entire process looks like for securing your own code.

First we need to decide what type you're looking to acquire. This will be either a random or vanity short code. Next we lease the code from the U.S. Short Code Administration.

Note that we said "lease" and not "purchase". Short codes are ever purchased. They are always leased and typically on a quarterly basis.

After the short code has been acquired, it's just a number that doesn't do anything… yet. The next step in being able to use it is to have it provisioned with all of the cellular carriers. At this point we begin submitting applications to all of the individual carriers requesting that they activate the code on their network. This process normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks and runs the same amount of time regardless of what short code SMS service is handling the process.

Once all of the carriers have approved it, we officially activate it and connect it with a SlickText account.

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SlickText Handles the Process For You

  • Decide between a random or vanity short code
  • Acquire a code from the U.S. Short Code Administration
  • Choose an SMS service to use it with
  • Submit short code applications to all cellular carriers
  • Wait for all applications to be reviewed and approved
  • Connect the short code to your SMS service
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SMS short code pricing

SMS Short Code Pricing

In the world of mass text messaging, short codes are not sold, they are leased. What you are paying for is the right to use it. While most SMS services bake the cost of a dedicated code directly into their monthly service fee, they are normally paid for on a quarterly basis.

The cost of an SMS short code can vary quite a bit depending on a handful of factors. The first and largest is whether it's random or vanity. Typically you will see vanity codes run between $500 and $1,000 more than random ones.

The second factor that impacts cost is what we refer to as the "connectivity fee". This is the cost to keep your code connected to all of the cellular carriers. You may see that some SMS short code services do not charge for this. There is a real cost here and they're likely hiding it inside other fees. As an example, a texting service that doesn't charge a connectivity fee may charge a large initial setup fee or a more expensive cost per message in order to cover it.

It's important to note that at SlickText, we don't believe in hiding anything. We have always been a company of transparency. That's why we put all of our pricing front facing as is so that you can know exactly what your paying for… no shenanigans.

Random Short Codes

CSCA Fee$500/mo
Connectivity Fee$350/mo

Total Cost$850/mo

Vanity Short Codes

CSCA Fee$1,000/mo
Connectivity Fee$350/mo

Total Cost$1,350/mo
If you're planning on sending and receiving MMS messages with your short code, there is an additional 1 time set up fee of $500.
The entry level SlickText pricing plan for accounts with dedicated codes is $139/month unless otherwise noted.

Why Choose SlickText as Your SMS Short Code Service?

With all of the messaging solutions out there, why would you choose SlickText as your SMS short code service? There are hundreds of reasons. Here are a few...

Hassel-free short code provisioning

A Hassle-Free Provisioning Process

We take the hard work out of provisioning your own SMS short code. From obtaining the code itself, to submitting the carrier applications and getting it connected, everything is handled by us, for you.

Lightning fast SMS messaging

Lightning Fast Throughput

While some services will limit your short code's throughput or send rates, our platform is built on an incredibly strong infrastructure that can support sending hundreds of text messages per second per code.

Better SMS delivery

Better Deliverability

Some SMS services save money by using low quality methods to send your messages. That just leaves people not getting your texts. We use the best possible North American messaging routes to ensure your text messages are delivered.

Have more questions about SMS short codes?

Our expert team is here to answer any questions you still have.

You're in excellent hands. We work with some of the world's greatest companies.

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Whether you have some questions, are eager to learn more, or want to take the next steps, we are here for you. Please let us know how we can help and we'll make you a priority!




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