10DLC vs Short Code

Any company looking to build text messaging into their business strategy will be met with several important considerations (Does this comply with the relevant regulations? How reliable is this method? What’s the cost?), many of which boil down to one critical decision: 10DLC or dedicated short code?

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, making this decision can be quite the hassle; however, once you thoroughly understand the differences between 10DLC and dedicated short code, you’ll see that there is a clear winner between the two.

The Battle of the Digits

10DLC stands for ten digit long code. Essentially, they are phone numbers with local area codes from which businesses communicate with their customers.

A dedicated short code serves essentially the same purpose, but it uses fewer digits. There are three types of short codes: premium short code, which allows you to spell out your brand name or another word (ex: 83987 for “Texts”); vanity short code, which is selected from a list of available 5 to 6 digit numbers; and random short code, which is randomly assigned.

Read on to learn more about what to keep in mind when building SMS into your business, and why purchasing a short code is the way to go.

Crucial Considerations

Incorporating SMS marketing and communication into your business doesn’t come without restrictions. There are several things to keep in mind; while this is not an exhaustive list, it represents the arenas in which 10DLC and dedicated short code have the most critical differences:

Regulatory Compliance:

Your texting practices must meet the guidelines established by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts telemarketing through phone calls and text messaging, and the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), which promotes best practices and initiatives for the American wireless industry.

SMS short codes are pre-approved by carriers and regulatory bodies, which means that they are compliant with TCPA regulations and other laws governing SMS marketing. (This also means a lower chance of being flagged as spam!) On the other hand, 10DLC is subject to carrier vetting, which increases the risk of non-compliance.


Your chosen solution needs to be able to handle the anticipated capacity of texts or plans you’re going to implement. There’s nothing worse than introducing a new business strategy, only for it to collapse because it can’t handle the volume.

Short code has a higher throughput (or speed for sending a high volume of messages) than 10DLC, and thus is better equipped for high-volume messaging. Long-code speeds are limited by wireless carriers at 60 SMS messages per minute, while short codes average 98,940 messages per minute. (However, small businesses may find that they don’t need to send such a high volume of messages, in which case 10DLC might work.)


This one is simple. Your solution needs to be in line with your company’s budget. Costs will largely depend on your anticipated messaging volume.

10DLC is generally much cheaper than short code and tends to be more cost-effective, especially for companies with lower messaging volumes. Short codes often involve higher upfront costs, monthly fees, and additional charges for each message sent. Also, premium short codes are more expensive than vanity or random codes.


Part of the appeal of texting is the ability to build trust with your customers. Establishing a recognizable and trustworthy sender identity is crucial to building this trust, so you’ll need to go with a solution that best supports your branding efforts and ensures message delivery without compromising your company’s reputation.

While the benefits of 10DLC include its utilization of local area codes, branded short code is easier to remember and more recognizable, which can increase brand recognition and customer engagement. This is particularly important for lead generation, where the goal is to capture the attention of potential customers and build brand awareness.

Service Provider Support:

Different service providers for 10DLC and short code offer different levels of support, which is essential for managing compliance-related issues, resolving technical challenges, and maintaining a smooth texting operation.

This is largely dependent on the service provider itself, not necessarily the type of phone number provided. Still, as short code is pre-vetted and already compliant, you’d likely avoid needing SMS compliance-related service at all.

Deliverability and Reliability:

It’s vital to ensure that messages are reliably delivered, as unreliable delivery can lead to compliance violations and customer dissatisfaction. Your solution needs to be dependable, and ideally should be efficient and easy for both you and your customers.

Short code generally has a higher deliverability rate than 10DLC. Short code’s high throughput means that it is better equipped to send a higher volume of messages in a shorter amount of time. This is particularly important for time-sensitive messages like debt collection reminders, where the message needs to be delivered quickly in order to be effective.

Implementation Time:

Implementing a new texting solution involves coordination with service providers, carriers, and internal stakeholders. You’ll want to consider the time and effort required to set up either a 10DLC or a short code so that you can ensure a smooth transition without disruptions to existing messaging operations.

Implementation times tend to be shorter for 10DLC (5 days or so) than for short code (3 to 6 weeks). However, using short code may save you time in the long run since it’s guaranteed to be compliant and can send more messages more quickly.

With this information in mind, it’s clear that the benefits of dedicated short code outweigh those of 10DLC. Any time or money spent on the frontend returns to you tenfold in operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

The SBT Difference

When you partner with Solutions by Text to build a 10DLC or short code into your business, you get the unparalleled and unbiased support of which code best services your needs. We understand that time is of the essence, and we are committed to facilitating an expedited process to get your short code application submitted and approved as quickly as possible.

If you’re ready to leverage the power of 10DLC or short code and experience the SBT difference, contact us today.

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