If you follow marketing industry news or you’re a business owner who uses text messaging platforms like Txtra to send important messages to your customers, you may have heard that SMS shared short codes are going away. We say “Good riddance!”
Major carriers like AT&T have announced that they will no longer support shared short codes as of 2019, and other telecom providers like T-Mobile and Verizon are following suit.
What are SMS Shared Shortcodes?
If you’re not familiar with shared short codes, let me explain. A shared short code is a 5 or 6 digit number that is literally shared by many organizations, with the only separation between one business and another is the keyword.
For example, one business advertises “Text FLOWERS to 555555 to get coupons from our florist” and another business may advertise “Text PIZZA to 555555 to get coupons from our pizzeria”.
These two businesses share the same short code. And keep in mind that there are typically thousands of businesses sharing a short code. So when one business is not following appropriate guidelines in their texting efforts, every single business using that short code will have that number shut down, lose touch with their customers, and sometimes lose the data associated with them. It’s a nightmare for everyone as it completely disrupts business continuity. This is one of the reasons why Txtra has never supported SMS shared short codes.
Why are Shared Short Codes Being Eliminated?
There are several different reasons why telecommunications providers such as AT&T are working towards the elimination of shared short codes. Now let’s take a look at each of them:
Spam prevention is probably one of the main reasons for the elimination of shared short codes. Spam phone calls and SMS text messages have been worse than ever in the last few years, with more than 30.1 billion robocalls being made in 2017 alone.
Alongside robocalls, spam text messages – often phishing scams meant to steal your identity – are becoming more common. And, unfortunately, because of the cost-effectiveness of using a shared short code and the ability to hide entities using a single short code, most of these messages were sent using shared short codes. As a result, it seems likely that the elimination of shared short codes is, at least in part, an anti-spam measure.
Enhanced Short Code Reliability
When wireless carriers detect spam messages, the short code is blocked.
This means that legitimate businesses that happened to share a short spammer code may have their offers and promotional messages blocked – and they won’t even know why.
Eliminating shared short codes will address this issue, as each business entity must purchase and run its own short code without sharing it with others. This, in turn, enhances the reliability and deliverability of short SMS code messages.
10DLC Messaging Innovation
The final, and perhaps most important, reason for eliminating shared short codes is innovation in 10DLC (10-digit long code) messaging. The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) has decided that as long as a 10DLC number follows a set of rules, A2P (Application to Person) Enterprise Messaging may be transmitted.
Txtra began offering 10DLC (in addition to our dedicated short codes), in 2019 or beyond, allowing businesses to send promotional SMS text messages using a traditional 10-digit number – with no expensive shortcode required.
What should I do if I use the Shared Short Code?
Despite the fact that shared short codes are being removed for legitimate, good reasons – improving SMS reliability, eliminating spam, and innovating in 10DLC numbers is likely to be beneficial in the future – you may be wondering what you can do now if you’re using a shared short code.
To ensure uninterrupted marketing messages, you should switch to a SMS provider that offers dedicated short codes or 10DLC.