Shared Short Codes for Texting are Going Away: Now What?

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With many wireless carriers changing their SMS messaging policies to enhance better deliverability, compliance, and security, you may have heard that the criteria is changing when it comes to using shared short codes for texting.

We’ve outlined what that means for your business when it comes time to send and receive SMS messages and what other alternative options you can choose from.

What is an SMS short code?

We’ve all gotten text messages for reminders, promotions, and text-to-win contests from a five or six-digit phone number. Most of us have even texted a certain keyword to a short code number.

Simply put, short codes are easy to remember, abbreviated, and shorter numbers than your average 10-digit phone number.

Short codes are perfect for mass text messaging and are generally designed for businesses and organizations that utilize SMS marketing campaigns and messaging to connect with their prospects and customers.

Additionally, shared short codes allow multiple brands to use the same pre-approved five or six digit code and send both SMS and MMS to a larger group of contacts at a quicker level.

short code texting

What's changing with short code texting?

Businesses and organizations will still be able to continue using SMS short codes but there’s a catch.

Wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T have announced that businesses won’t be able to send messages to phone numbers using shared short codes anymore. However, there will be an option to use a dedicated short code or you can choose from another alternative.

Don’t worry though- by taking away shared short codes, businesses who are compliant with text messaging laws will have their own short code now, giving them more control over keywords and brand awareness.

Previously, carriers could block traffic to and from short codes that were sending SPAM text messages, which meant that if there were multiple businesses associated with a shared short code, all of them were affected. Now, brands don’t have to worry about a shared short code getting blocked by a carrier due to another brand not being compliant.

Not only that, but with dedicated short codes, businesses aren’t limited by a specific (and sometimes competing) shared keyword that multiple businesses can be using at the same time. By using dedicated short codes, companies can pick their own keywords for their marketing campaigns and enhance brand awareness/recognition.

While there is not a set date of when this change will take place, it’s expected in the very near future as more and more wireless carriers make headway on their 10DLC policies for commercial use.

What are your alternative options?

With shared short codes going away, it’s important to understand the other options you’ll be able to choose from, including using dedicated short codes, toll-free numbers, or a local number.

Dedicated Short Codes

If businesses want to continue using short codes, they can choose to have a dedicated short code, which is leased on a monthly basis. Dedicated short codes can either be generated randomly or be specifically chosen by a business. If companies want to choose a unique dedicated short code, they would select a vanity short code. Although vanity short codes are double the price of a regular short code (at $1,000/month), they allow for more personalization which can be advantageous for organizations in specific industries. An example of this is a pizza place choosing an easy-to-remember number as their vanity short code and then applying PIZZA as their specific keyword.

Toll-Free Numbers

Did you know that you can now send and receive text messages from toll-free numbers? These numbers begin with a prefix of 8XX and can send SMS and MMS messages to other mobile phones at a mass text messaging level if needed. This option is more cost-effective but it’s important to know that if your company chooses to go this route, toll-free numbers are 10 digits and you won’t have a short code number anymore.

Local Number Messaging

If you don’t want to use a dedicated short code or a toll-free number, your company can switch to using a regular 10-digit local phone number- this is just for the United States and Canada.

You can also take advantage of using Sakari’s hosted messaging services. This allows you to use your existing landline number or VoIP to send text messages using Sakari SMS.

sakari phone number setup

How Sakari can help with SMS short codes

With this change taking place, businesses will have overall better messaging functionality and control over what is sent by text message, creating a stronger sense of security for both the business and its consumers.

Not sure where to start in choosing your next option to replace shared short codes? With Sakari, we can help you get setup, choose the right phone number, and make sure you have everything you need for successful SMS marketing and two-way text messaging.

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