A 10DLC (10-digit long code) is a regular phone number that a business can register with a carrier. In return for businesses registering their corporate brand and their use cases (called campaigns in 10DLC parlance), carriers forgo most spam filtering on their messaging.
They also offer greatly increased messaging throughput — up to 4,500 transactions per minute (TPM) for vetted brands and campaigns, versus 75 for unvetted numbers.
10DLC is an economical alternative to short codes, which, unlike the long codes used for 10DLC, were specifically designed for text messaging. Short codes have potentially higher throughput, but they’re much more expensive — $500 or more a month, depending on the provider and whether it’s a regular number or a vanity short code.
By contrast, 10DLC campaigns cost $10 a month. Businesses can associate as many as 49 numbers with each campaign, and each number incurs a monthly rental charge of less than a dollar. One-time charges for 10DLC are better too — $44 to register a brand and have it vetted to get the highest available throughput, versus $1,500 to acquire a short code.
Nowadays most businesses use a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) for their application-to-person (A2P) texting, and they can sign up for 10DLC numbers through their CPaaS. CPaaS providers make telecom tasks easier for users thanks to their direct relationships with the carriers.
While 10DLC costs might not break the bank of a popular restaurant or retailer, it’s not ideal for mom-and-pop businesses.
Consider individual Etsy sellers who want to provide order acknowledgments and shipping notifications to their buyers, or a nonprofit social services agency that wants to provide texting support to clients in need, or a lone developer who wants to build texting into a new application.
Every dollar counts for these organizations and individuals, and they don’t need the ability to send thousands of messages per minute.
Cloud communications platforms have begun catering to small businesses and sole proprietors with a special messaging tier. Plivo, for instance, offers a
Starter brands are more affordable than the alternative standard brands. There’s no cost for brand registration, and a campaign costs only 75 cents per month.
Of course there’s a tradeoff for those cost savings. Starter brands can register only a single campaign, and can associate no more than five numbers with it. And messaging throughput is limited to 75 TPM — but that’s plenty for businesses at this level.
So the price is right — but why should small businesses even be interested in texting? If they want to be in touch with customers (and prospective customers) they should choose the communication channel the recipients prefer, and for many people these days, that’s texting. It all comes down to providing better communication and giving people what they want.