Send SMS messages at scale using 10DLC and Amazon Pinpoint
This week, we’re adding support for 10DLC phone numbers to Amazon Pinpoint. You can use 10DLC phone numbers to send SMS text messages at scale quickly and affordably.
What is 10DLC?
The abbreviation 10DLC stands for Ten-Digit Long Code. 10DLC phone numbers are intended specifically for sending Application-to-Person (A2P) messages—that is, messages that are sent from applications like Amazon Pinpoint to individual recipients. 10DLC is a concept that’s unique to the SMS industry in the United States. If you don’t send text messages to recipients in the US, then 10DLC doesn’t apply to you.
Before the launch of 10DLC, you could purchase unregistered US long codes instantly through the Amazon Pinpoint console. These long codes didn’t require a registration process—anyone could purchase them for $1 per month. However, the mobile carriers never intended for senders to use them to send A2P messages. For these reasons, their capabilities were limited. To prevent bad actors from sending spam and other malicious content, unregistered long codes could only send one message per second, and about 100 messages in a 24-hour period. Carriers applied heavy filtering to these phone numbers and blocked them for sending high volumes of messages, or as a penalty for sending unsolicited messages.
The alternative to using unregistered long codes is to use a short code. Short codes are a premium SMS product. They offer high rates of deliverability and high throughput (starting at 100 messages per second and going up to thousands of messages per second). The mobile carriers apply a rigorous approval process to short code applications. This process takes several weeks to complete. Short codes cost $995 per month, plus a one-time setup fee of $650. We continue to offer and support short codes in Amazon Pinpoint. Short codes are the right solution for many of our customers, and will continue to be part of the US SMS landscape well into the future.
For many customers though, the ideal solution is somewhere in the middle. 10DLC was designed to cover that middle ground. With 10DLC, senders are required to register both their company and their campaign. This registration information is added to The Campaign Registry (TCR), an industry-wide database of companies and use cases that are authorized to send messages using 10DLC phone numbers. Some use cases, such as one-time passwords and other authentication systems, can be approved within a week. Other use cases, such as promotional messaging, are subject to additional scrutiny, but can still be approved in a few weeks. While 10DLC phone numbers don’t offer the high throughput rates that short codes do, they can exceed the one message per second limit of unregistered long codes while offering higher deliverability rates. And importantly for many customers, they don’t come with the price tag associated with short codes. You pay a one-time fee of $4 to register your company, and a $10 monthly fee for each 10DLC campaign that you register. You also pay a $1 monthly charge for each 10DLC long code that you lease.
Note: On March 1, 2021, T-Mobile will begin to charge a one-time, $50 fee for registering your company. This fee will be charged in addition to the $4 company registration fee. No other carriers have announced similar fees.
The following table compares the costs associated with obtaining and using a short code against the costs of obtaining and using a 10DLC phone number. This table assumes that you only register one 10DLC company and campaign. It also assumes that you only use a single long code with your 10DLC campaign.
|$54 ($4 company registration + $50 T-Mobile registration fee)
|$11 ($1 phone number lease + $10 campaign registration fee)
Senders with very low throughput and volume requirements can register a “low-volume” 10DLC campaign for $2 per month, as opposed to the standard campaign fee of $10 per month. This option is a good choice for test and proof-of-concept use cases.
Drawbacks of using 10DLC phone numbers
For users of Amazon Pinpoint, 10DLC phone numbers offer several benefits. However, they also come with a few drawbacks. One drawback is the different ways that the US carriers support 10DLC. As I mentioned earlier, when you apply for a 10DLC phone number, you have to provide information about your company or brand, and information about your specific messaging use case. The carriers use this information to calculate a trust score. They then use this trust score to determine the capabilities of your 10DLC phone number. On T-Mobile and Sprint, your trust score determines the maximum number of messages that you can send each day through your 10DLC phone number. But for AT&T, your trust score determines the number of messages that you can send each minute, with no limit on the daily number of messages that you can send. (As of this writing, Verizon hasn’t announced their throughput plan.) These differences mean that you must carefully manage your messaging program to stay within the daily and per-second limits imposed by the different carriers.
A final drawback to using 10DLC phone numbers is related to throughput. If your use case requires you to send a large number of text messages in a short amount of time (100 messages per second or more), you need a short code.
10DLC phone numbers typically have higher per-second and daily sending limits than unregistered long codes. The actual performance of your 10DLC phone number is based on the trust score for the company that you registered. The following table shows the trust score tiers and their associated limits.
|Message parts per minute (AT&T)
|Maximum daily messages (T-Mobile & Sprint)
Setting up 10DLC
To set up 10DLC, you have to do three things. First, you must register your company. Second, you must register your use case. And third, you must add a phone number to your 10DLC campaign.
Important: When you complete the steps in this section, you are charged for registering both your company and your use case. These registration charges can’t be reversed. Only complete these steps if you agree to pay these charges.
Step 1: Register your company
When you register your company, you provide your company details to The Campaign Registry (TCR). The mobile carriers use this data to determine the trustworthiness of your use cases. Company approvals are usually granted instantly.
To register your company:
- Sign in to the Amazon Pinpoint console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/pinpoint.
- In the navigation pane, under Settings, choose SMS and voice.
- On the 10DLC campaigns tab, choose Register company, as shown in the following image.
- On the Register your company page, fill out the form completely. There are a few things to note in this process:
- The Doing business as (DBA) or brand name field is mandatory. The value that you provide can be the same as your company name.
- The Support email and Support phone number are the email address and phone number that your customers can use to contact you when they have questions.
- When you finish, choose Create.
Step 2: Register a 10DLC campaign
After you register a company, you can begin to register campaigns. In 10DLC terms, a campaign is a use case or set of closely related use cases. Amazon Pinpoint also sends this information to TCR. Carriers use this information to determine whether traffic that they see from a certain phone number is legitimate. Campaigns associated with common, low-risk use cases can typically be approved in about a week.
To register a 10DLC campaign:
- On the SMS and voice settings page, on the 10DLC campaigns tab, choose Create 10DLC Campaign, as shown in the following image.
- On the Create 10DLC Campaign page, do the following:
- For Company name, choose the company that you registered in the preceding section.
- For 10DLC campaign name, enter a name that describes your messaging use case, such as “Example Corp One-Time Passwords.”
- For Vertical, choose the category that most accurately describes your company and use case. For example, if you develop software for the healthcare industry, choose Healthcare.
- For Help message, enter the response that will be returned to recipients who reply to your messages with the keyword HELP. A good help message describes the purpose of the campaign. It also provides your customers with a method of contacting you for more help (typically an email address or phone number).
- For Stop message, enter the response that will be returned to recipients who reply to your messages with the keyword STOP. A typical stop message tells your customer what type of messages they’re unsubscribing from, and lets them know that you won’t send them any more messages.
- Under Campaign use case, choose the use case that most accurately describes how you plan to use the 10DLC phone number. Many common use cases—including two-factor authentication (2FA), marketing, security and fraud alerts, and public service announcements—are considered Standard use cases. Use cases that involve a greater degree of risk for carriers—such as political, sweepstakes, and emergency notifications—are considered Special use cases.
- When you finish, choose Create.
Step 3: Associate phone numbers with your 10DLC campaign
After your 10DLC company and campaign are approved, you can purchase new long codes. When you purchase a long code, you choose which 10DLC campaign to associate it with.
To purchase a long code:
- On the SMS and voice settings page, on the Phone numbers tab, choose Request long code/toll-free.
- On the Define your phone numbers page, in the Phone number 1 section, do the following:
- For Country, choose United States.
- For Number type, choose 10DLC.
- For Assign to existing 10DLC campaign, choose the 10DLC campaign that you created in the preceding section.
- For Default message type, choose the option that most accurately describes your use case.
- In the Summary section, for Quantity, specify how many phone numbers you want to purchase.
- Choose Next. Then, on the Review and request page, choose Request.
If you no longer need the long codes that are associated with your 10DLC campaign registration, you can delete them. If you delete a long code, you’re no longer charged the $1 monthly lease charge. However, you’re still charged the recurring 10DLC campaign registration fee, unless you delete your 10DLC campaign as well.
If you want to delete the 10DLC company or campaign registration information in Amazon Pinpoint, you can do so by opening a case in the AWS Support Center. The SMS and voice settings page in the Amazon Pinpoint console contains links that you can use to quickly open these cases.
If you need to start sending SMS messages to your customers quickly, and without the expense of a short code, 10DLC is a great option. With common use cases such as two-factor authentication, your 10DLC campaigns and phone numbers can be ready to use relatively quickly. Messages that you send using 10DLC will have the high deliverability rates that were previously reserved only for short codes.