August 23, 2022 | By Jake Meador

  1. What is the Difference Between A2P and P2P Messaging?

Text messages are sent in one of two ways:

  • Peer-to-peer messaging (P2P)
  • Application-to-peer messaging (A2P)


P2P is a peer-to-peer method for sending texts. It is used for people who want to send text messages to other people using a normal 10-digit phone number. (Example: 402-421-2011)

P2P is intended for personal use rather than business uses. You use this method every day when you text your friends and family.

The benefit of P2P is that deliverability rates tended to be higher. However, because of their intended use, their message caps are lower, both in terms of messages that can be sent per second and messages that can be sent in a month.

For businesses, P2P long code messages are not reliable for bulk messaging campaigns because their throughput (the number of messages that can be sent per second) was much lower. Today, that is changing with the advent of A2P 10-digit long codes (10DLCs).


A2P is application to person messaging. In contrast to P2P, A2P is best for businesses and organizations who want to text consumers or large groups of people. A2P messaging allows you to send a larger volume of messages per second and a larger volume on a monthly basis by using a text messaging platform, such as Mobile Text Alerts.

A2P is intended for business use. A business might use A2P for sending SMS marketing messages to its customers and/or SMS alerts and reminders to its employees.

A2P texting was traditionally done via five or six digit short codes. That is now changing as ten-digit long codes (10DLCs) are being made available for A2P messaging, as of March 1st, 2021, and shared short codes are being banned.

  1. Understanding Dedicated and Shared Short Code Messaging?

There are two types of short codes:

  • Dedicated
  • Shared

Dedicated Short Code

Dedicated short codes are 5 to 6 digit phone numbers used by a single firm to send and receive text messages using an A2P method. Many firms do not lease a single designated short code for themselves due to cost.

Shared Short Code

Businesses used to use a shared short code that was shared with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of firms. This significantly reduced the cost of acquiring a short code to use with bulk text messaging. 10-dlc-01.png

Shared short codes have been discontinued by all tier-1 mobile carriers, such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T and are no longer an option for marketers.

  1. Why Are Short Codes Going Away?

There are two problems with shared short codes.

Problem #1

First, as we already said, for a business to buy their own short code to use for text messaging would cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. This, understandably, was a cost many businesses did not want to pay. As we explained above, this problem was solved through the use of shared short codes that would be used by many businesses, thereby reducing the cost of the short code for individual businesses. Unfortunately, the mass adoption of shared short codes created a second problem.

Problem #2

Because a short code could be shared by dozens or even hundreds of businesses, one bad actor could ruin it for everyone. Due to fairly aggressive anti-spam regulations on SMS messaging, short code providers have had to maintain strict controls on SMS spam.

This meant that if one business on a short code was sending spam messages, short code providers would often respond by shutting down the short code, which meant that all of the businesses using that short code could no longer use it.

In contrast, ten digit long codes (10DLCs) are much cheaper to set up. So going forward every business will have to use their own ten digit long code when sending SMS messages. This addresses both the cost problem and the spam problems that could and often did arise with shared short codes.

  1. What is a 10DLC?

10DLC stands for “ten digit long code,” and refers to a new approach to handling bulk text messaging that incorporates elements of both P2P and A2P messaging. Like P2P messaging, 10DLC will use ten-digit numbers that look more like a normal phone number and belong to a single party. Like A2P messaging, 10DLC messaging will allow you to send a large volume of messages at once.

10DLC numbers are ideal for small and medium businesses who want to run effective SMS marketing campaigns to large groups of people. Compared to short codes and toll-free numbers, 10DLCs have the best throughput and deliverability rates for the lowest cost. 10-dlc-02.png

  1. What kind of messages can I send using 10DLC?

You can send all the basic types of messages you would with a shared short code in the past:

  • Sales, promos, discounts
  • Appointment or event reminders
  • Service updates
  • Product updates
  • Emergency updates
  • Other marketing messages

  1. How many messages will I be able to send at once using 10DLC?

The answer to that is still not completely clear and will depend on some brand-specific factors. That said, the early signs indicate that throughput could be anywhere from 5-15 messages per second (MPS).

  1. How to Sign Up for a 10DLC?

Tier 1 carriers are requiring all companies that wish to use a ten-digit long code to register themselves using a brand registry service.

The brand registration process will involve sharing basic information about your business and intended uses for SMS with the mobile carrier. This allows them to assign a trustworthiness score to your brand, which will determine how many messages you can send per second, per month, or both.

Once you have completed the registration process, you have your ten digit code and can begin messaging your list with the new long code.

Fortunately, Mobile Text Alerts makes this process easy. Sign up for a free account and we’ll get you set up quickly.

  1. The High Value of 10DLCs

There are a number of benefits to adopting 10DLCs.

  • 10DLCs were created specifically for businesses who want to use SMS marketing. Businesses can safely use 10DLCs to send SMS marketing messages to their customers.
  • 10DLCs have much lower monthly costs than short codes. See pricing for 10DLCs.
  • 10DLCS have better deliverability than toll-free numbers. They are sanctioned by mobile carriers and therefore are not subject to the same strict filtering.
  • 10DLCs are dedicated numbers. They are registered to only one business at a time. This will make SMS marketing even more of an effective anti-spam channel.
  • 10DLCs will likely improve SMS engagement rates. Receiving a text from a 10-digit number may feel more personal than receiving a text from a 5-digit short code or toll-free number.

  1. How to migrate your short code, 10-digit number, or toll-free number?

If you are an MTA customer, you can contact customer support and we will help you with this process. If you are using other bulk text messaging vendors, you will need to ask them about how they plan to migrate numbers to 10DLC.

  1. Where can I learn more about short codes, toll-free numbers, and 10DLCs?

We’ve written an article called A New Era for SMS Marketing: Short Codes, Toll-Free & 10DLC which highlights the pros and cons of each SMS messaging channel. We also have shared our belief that 10DLCs are the best messaging method for businesses and organizations in 2021.

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