The one thing that you can always count on is for things to change. Change can make the world a more exciting and brighter place. It can also be frustrating when the change affects you and your business. But changes will keep happening, so it's essential to learn to handle that positively.

In the world of SMS broadcast marketing, you should be aware of it. We're talking about the elimination of shared short codes. If you have yet to hear about this, we'll share all the information you need to know below. We'll explain what's happening, why it's occurring, and what alternatives are available.

A man hesitation to tap on two buttons to find the best alternative to shared short codes

What Is a Shared Short Code?

We want to explain what a short code is for those unfamiliar with it. A short code is a phone number five to six numbers long. Shared short codes are used by several businesses simultaneously as a way to save on costs and create a better time to market for services and products.

On the other side of the coin is the dedicated short code. This is also a short number of five to six digits. However, it is used only by one specific business. This specific company is the only one that controls the short code.

What Are the Problems Associated with a Shared SMS Short Code?

When there is more than one business using a short code, each one of them has to have its unique keywords, so traffic ends up going to the right place. This can be a considerable problem if two or more of the companies use the same short code. The keyword might be used for multiple purposes, which leads to a worse user experience and an opt-in and out process that is challenging to manage.

However, this is only one of the significant issues associated with shared short codes. If one of the businesses using the short code violates messaging or content practices, the short code might be shut down. This can be highly frustrating for customers and other businesses using the number.

What Happens When the Shared Short Code Service Goes Away?

The landscape of business messaging has been changing while it makes way for the newly altered business (A2P) messaging available. This starts at the top with carriers and is happening as you read this.

While company messaging continues to change and technology comes along with that change, the use of shared short codes is becoming less common and will eventually be phased out completely.

Every carrier has a set of rules about what is acceptable and what isn't for their networks. Companies using shared short codes will find that delivery rates start to trend downward as more carriers block traffic from shared short codes on their networks. All carriers have blocked the approval of any new short codes intended to be shared by multiple businesses.

Build Powerful SMS Campaigns

No contracts, no hidden fees, and no credit card information required to get started.

Create Account
a man in suit smiling as he looks down at his cellphone

Why Is Shared Shortcode Going Away?

If you're currently using a shared short code, you probably want to know why they're going away. Two different reasons make up this answer. Both play a part in why shared short codes will soon be a relic of the past.

First, it's a balancing act to ensure consumers are protected while messages can be delivered reliably. As mentioned, when a carrier notices spam is coming from a sender using a short code, the complete short code is typically blocked. If you happen to be sharing that short code with someone less reputable, you'll likely find your traffic blocked.

In addition, the industry is currently focusing on a move to 10DLC. This refers to ten digital SMS long code messages, a new way to send A2P messages through local phone numbers. It also happens to be fully sanctioned by the carriers.

This first came out through Verizon in 2020, and the change makes business messaging models a bit more complicated. However, it opens up business use cases where a local phone number is the best option.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Share Short Code?

With several options available, you may be wondering what is best for your specific business. Depending on how your text message marketing works, most businesses will be okay with one or two options. We'll share a little bit about each of them so you can decide what meets your needs.

Toll-Free Messaging

It might sound impossible, but you can add the ability to send and receive SMS messages on the toll-free number you use for your business. Due to the high volume of messaging used through toll-free numbers, this is often considered the supreme option for sanctioned business messaging traffic.

You can utilize the number you are already using for customer contact centers or sale lines or choose to open a new toll-free number for a quick way to get your business messages out.

Dedicated Short Codes

If you prefer to keep using a short code, that's an option, too. Lease a dedicated short code with five to six digits and keep up with all your mass messaging needs. You'll also have more control over your mass SMS messaging since you have a simple-to-remember short code that you can build into your brand for extra awareness.

However, the process can take some time. Carriers need to approve you, which might take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks. In any case, shared short-code pricing is more expensive than using a toll-free number. If that isn't a problem for you, it's a high-volume, reliable option that is an alternative to a shared short code.

10DLC Messaging

The newest type of A2P messaging is ten-digit extended code messaging. This allows you to send massive text messages using approved local numbers, which those in the geographic area will appreciate. This may only be ideal for some situations. With carrier fees and campaign regulations, this is best for those who rely on a particular location.

There's also something else to be aware of with choosing 10DLC. These numbers don't offer handset delivery receipts. When choosing a short code or a toll-free number, you'll have better delivery insight.

Differences Between the Options

Want to know the differences between the three options? Check the chart below for a visual representation to help you make the right decision for your business needs.

  Toll-Free Messaging; Dedicated Short Code Messaging; Ten Digit Long Code (10DLC) Messaging;
Available for A2P messaging; Yes Yes Yes
The average monthly hosting fee for the number $1 $500 - $1,000 $10 per month per number
Voice-enabled services Yes No Yes
Time to approval 1-3 days 4 – 12 weeks 3 days
Availability of delivery receipts Yes Yes No
Ability to send MMS messages Yes Yes Yes

Choose Esendex for a Dedicated Short Code or Other Alternatives

Having an exemplary messaging service is essential for marketing today. The good news is that many options exist, whether with a dedicated short code, toll-free number, or 10DLC messaging. With shared short codes going away, it's time to decide how you and your business will move forward.

At Esendex, we provide a short code texting service that makes it easy to procure a five to six-digit number. We also provide 10DLC services for those who wish to use them. We make the process of handling your text messaging campaigns straightforward. Please speak with a team member to learn more about your options.

An SMS broadcasting software displayed on a laptop screen
Become a Reseller

Our SMS reseller program gives you everything you need to easily resell our SMS software to your customers and increase revenue.

A cellphone that has text messages displayed on its screen that came from an sms api

Texting API designed to send & receive SMS & MMS globally using a short code or 10DLC number.

An SMS broadcasting software displayed on a laptop screen
SMS Software

Easy to use SMS software that can send & receive SMS & MMS using a short code or 10DLC number.

A phone with a headset sitting next to it
Voice API

Powerful voice API that sends mass automated phone calls quickly to mobile & landline devices.

A cellphone with a check on the screen and the words verified beneath the check
Verification API

Verify mobile & landline numbers, find service providers, & define time zones to restrict calling times.

people sitting at a table in a resturaunt and all of them are looking at their cellphones

What Is Mass Texting & How Does It Work?

Businesses can utilize SMS marketing in a number of ways, such as through a long code or short code. Short codes...

Read More
A man holding a phone in front of a laptop and both have marketing data displayed on their screen

What Is SMS Marketing & Why Use It?

SMS marketing is a term that's often thrown around when companies are talking about their communication...

Read More
A man pondering at a latop with a pen to his lip

SMS vs. MMS (What's the Difference)

Mobile phones have become a commodity. Today, people use cellular devices to connect with the world...

Read More