Mobile Messaging Made Easy

Text marketing’s 98% engagement rate means your messages will be read and responded to — fast. No other channel comes close.

START 14–DAY FREE TRIAL

Navigating the A2P Maze: A Guide to US A2P Registration

Read our FYI about A2P, including what it is, why your business needs to know about it, and how to register.

Illustration of three images side by side: (1) EZ Texting platform interface, with arrows to (2) smartphone displaying text message, with arrows to (3) happy customer
May 29, 2024
Kathleen Crampton
Share: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Email
Reading time about 10 min

Do you lie awake at night wondering about text marketing compliance? Well, now you can put your thoughts to rest as we guide you through the newest regulatory hurdle many companies need to cross: A2P registration.

What sounds like a complex process is really just one requirement set by phone carriers in the United States. You only need to rely on your text marketing platform and read through this guide to all things A2P registration, including what it is exactly, why it’s important for your business, and the steps involved in getting approved.

What Is A2P Registration?

A2P registration is a verification process that US mobile phone carriers require to ensure that text messages sent from businesses to customers are legitimate. A2P stands for “application to phone,” meaning that this registration is intended for businesses that use software to send bulk SMS texts to their audience. Because most, if not all, companies probably use a text marketing platform (aka the “software”) to reach individuals through this channel, A2P registration applies in most cases.

 

What Types of Messages Require A2P Registration?

When determining what types of messages require A2P registration, remember that all do. If your business sends SMS marketing messages to customers, it must undergo A2P brand registration.

But, of course, your company can use different types of numbers to contact customers, so let’s review them here in the context of A2P.

 

Dedicated Short Code

Short codes are six-digit numbers dedicated to one business for its exclusive use. Organizations often choose a memorable number that customers can instantly recognize and is easy to text (like 456456). Dedicated short codes already undergo an application and registration process through mobile carriers to ensure that the business is who it says it is and to approve the types of messages that will be sent.

While short codes have many benefits, like delivery receipts, brand recognition, and texting at scale, they are more expensive than messaging from a standard 10-digit phone number. Some companies used to share short codes to avoid this expense, but the need for regulation arose when scams and spam messages came into play with these types of numbers. So, in 2019, mobile phone carriers discontinued the ability to share short codes and introduced US A2P 10DLC registration as a safe and cheaper alternative.

 

10-Digit Long Code

10DLC (10-digit long code) numbers are standard-length phone numbers that can text and call. These were originally just used for P2P (peer-to-peer) messaging, but with the rise of text marketing and the higher cost of short codes, companies began using 10DLCs to connect with customers.

Now, with the introduction of US A2P 10DLC registration, 10DLC numbers are a top choice for many businesses that don’t have the budget for short codes or that have smaller contact lists and therefore don’t need to send as many messages as, say, an enterprise-level company.

The rest of this article will focus on A2P 10DLC registration, a new requirement for these numbers.

Why Is A2P Registration Important?

The biggest reason why A2P registration is important is because it helps businesses stay SMS compliant. As of 2023, all marketing messages from 10DLC US numbers must be sent through an approved A2P campaign; if the number has yet to undergo A2P brand and campaign registration, it might be blocked and receive an error message from your mobile carrier.

Additionally, each SMS or MMS message sent from an unregistered 10DLC number might incur a fee (which can add up with higher volumes of texts).

 

Beyond Compliance: More Benefits of A2P Registration

There’s more to A2P registration than ensuring your business can avoid fees and carrier-blocked messages. What are the benefits of A2P registration beyond compliance? The benefits of A2P registration beyond compliance include improved brand trust, enhanced customer experiences, increased security, and improved deliverability.

Improved Brand Trust

Now, your contacts don’t have to worry about whether the 10-digit number that sent them a message is legitimate — they’ll know immediately that it’s a vetted number. The safer customers feel with your marketing outreach, the more they’ll trust your brand and the more they’ll interact and engage with your messages.

Image of customer smiling at smartphone

Enhanced Customer Experiences

Your audience wants a seamless and positive experience with your business, and you can deliver that with messages verified through A2P campaign registration. Previously, messages from 10DLC numbers were typically sent once per second, but now businesses can send more than 100 messages per second with A2P-verified campaigns. That means that your contacts will receive more timely — and more trusted — messages.

Security

A2P registration boosts the security of your business’s marketing messages through the registration itself and your assigned trust score. The higher the score, the fewer security issues or hurdles there will be, meaning that your customers can rest assured that no spam (at least from your business) is coming their way.

Improved Deliverability

Finally, registering your 10DLC number will significantly improve the deliverability of your messages. Without registering, your number might be flagged as potential spam, risking your messages being blocked by your carrier or reported by customers.

Demystifying the A2P Registration Process

Now, it’s time to talk about the registration process. The Campaign Registry is the entity that reviews and approves all A2P messaging registration, but you’ll start the process through your text marketing platform.

What are the critical steps involved in A2P registration? The key steps in A2P registration involve choosing your registration type, filling out your business profile, providing sample content, identifying opt-ins, and waiting for approval. Let’s review each step. Find more details about EZ Texting’s easy registration process in our helpful guide.

 

illustrated check mark

Step 1: Choose Your Registration Type

There are a few different types of A2P messaging registration you can choose from, depending on whether you have a tax ID (EIN) or not:

  • Low-volume A2P (or standard) is intended for companies with tax IDs and includes about 2,000 messages per day, with a rate limit of 200-225 SMS per minute and 50 MMS per minute.
  • High-volume A2P is excellent for companies with tax IDs that expect to send more than 2,000 messages daily and includes a rate of 720-7,500 SMS per minute and 50 MMS per minute.
  • Sole proprietor A2P is for people registering without a tax ID and typically has a lower limit for the number of messages that can be sent daily.

 

illustration of paper form with lines

Step 2: Fill Out Your Business Profile

Next is A2P brand registration, where you’ll include all of the nuts and bolts of your business, including the legal company name, DBA (Doing Business As) name, the type of organization (C corp vs. S corp and so on), the country of registration, the tax ID, the website, and other essential details.

illustration of box with sample content

Step 3: Provide Sample Content

After you have breezed through all of the business info, you’ll be prompted to complete the A2P campaign registration part of the process.

Here, you’ll need to write a few samples of content or explain the messages you’ll send to customers. Don’t worry, though — you won’t need to come prepared with 160 characters of promotional SMS content. Just provide enough detail to portray the messages that will be sent accurately.

If you selected high-volume A2P in Step 1, you’ll probably be required to add more information about the messaging campaigns at this stage — more than you would for standard registration. You might be asked to specify the campaign use cases, whether you’ll need two-factor authentication, and so on.

 

illustration of QR code, keyword, and website form for opt-in

Step 4: Identify Opt-Ins

Then, you’ll have to identify how your business will gather opt-ins: through a QR code, on a website form, upon login, with a keyword, and so forth. This might seem insignificant, but it’s crucial for getting your A2P 10DLC approved.

 

illustration of an hourglass

Step 5: Wait for Approval

Finally, it’s time to get that approval! How long does A2P registration take? A2P registration can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks. With EZ Texting, however, you’ll probably find out within 24 hours if your US A2P 10DLC registration is approved.

Counting the Cost of A2P Registration

As you might have guessed, A2P registration often requires either one-time or recurring costs on your end. But a little extra money is worth ensuring your messages are delivered.

What are the potential costs associated with A2P registration? The potential costs associated with A2P registration typically include brand registration, campaign registration, and, in some cases, a secondary vetting fee. Here’s a quick overview:

  • A2P brand registration: These are small brand registration fees required from businesses.
  • A2P campaign registration: There are usually one-time and/or monthly campaign fees either rolled into or in addition to your text marketing platform’s monthly subscription costs. The amount of the campaign registration fees depends on the type of registration you choose.
  • Secondary vetting fee: There is an extra fee (one-time or recurring) for high-volume A2Ps because these require a secondary vetting process due to the higher cap on the number of messages.

Remember that A2P brand and campaign registration fees might vary across text marketing platforms and depending on your selections, including standard or high-volume A2P, special use cases, and more.

With EZ Texting, our pricing is transparent, and customers who select standard A2P can register for free! Don’t worry — there are no hidden fees.

Common A2P Registration Roadblocks and How to Avoid Them

Any new process can be daunting, even if you’re guided through it, but if you remember what not to do, your entire registration experience can be a piece of cake.

So, what are some common pitfalls to avoid during A2P registration? Some common pitfalls to avoid during A2P registration include overlooking the small (but important) details and needing to provide accurate campaign information.

 

Overlooking the Small (but Important) Details

During your registration process, what might seem like small or insignificant details are the bread and butter of your application. There are several reasons why an A2P number might not be approved: invalid website URL, incorrect brand information, and other inaccurate details.

Don’t let your company be rejected for one of these reasons. Review every piece of business information before submitting your application.

 

Not Providing Accurate Campaign Information

With A2P messaging registration, accuracy is paramount — and that goes for more than just your business details. The campaign and brand information are just as important. Pay special attention to the campaign description, sample messages (ensuring that they reflect the nature of the types of marketing messages you’ll send), and opt-in methods.

Remember that the information you provide will impact your trust score and, ultimately, your registration approval, so ensure it’s accurate and true to your brand.

 

Get Started with Your A2P Registration Today

You have all the necessary info at your fingertips, so now it’s time to start your A2P registration if you haven’t already. EZ Texting makes the entire experience stress-free, with guided processes for all US A2P 10DLC registration types. Get started today.

FAQs

Typically, no, you can’t register for A2P directly with the carriers. The nature of A2P requires the process to be done with messaging service providers (as these are the “applications” in A2P). Text marketing platforms handle the registration process from start to finish, making it easy for businesses to get SMS compliant quickly and stress-free.

Future trends in A2P messaging include AI-powered tools to streamline registration, stricter campaign approvals to ensure security and data privacy, wider adoption beyond the United States, and broadened support for RCS.

Share: Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Email
SMS Texting for Marketing & Sales

Introducing New Generative AI Features!

Now it’s even easier for your team to connect with your audience and collaborate on inbound messages. Yes, that means fewer missed messages!
Welcome to texting transformed.

TEAM INBOX: Assign and collaborate on 1:1 messages, enabling faster problem resolution through streamlined teamwork. Start Here
AI REPLY: Drastically reduce two-way texting response time by letting AI handle inquiries - faster, smarter, better! Start Here
AI COMPOSE: Craft captivating mass messages to start and continue conversations with generative AI. Start Here