What are long numbers, short codes, and toll-free numbers?

  • Long Numbers or long codes were originally intended for peer to peer SMS messaging but due to business demand are sometimes utilized by companies looking to incorporate SMS into their communication strategy. There are now local channels that are designed for A2P messaging but there are also usually limits to the amount of messages that can be sent per minute and promotional messaging may be severely restricted. While registration is not required to use a long code, and thus they are quicker to set up, many countries will have restrictions on the types and content of messages that are sent via long codes.
  • Short Numbers or codes are ideally utilized for all types of application to person (A2P) SMS or enterprise messaging including for marketing messages. In those countries where short codes are available, there are limited numbers and thus access to these codes is highly regulated, requiring registration which restricts usage to legitimate companies that have user permission to send messages to their mobile subscription numbers. However once registered there are fewer barriers and limits to their usage. so short codes are used for sending time-sensitive information, OTP authentication codes, appointment reminders, travel alerts, and are frequently used to send opted-in promotional messages to build brand awareness and improve customer loyalty. There are 2 types of Short Codes:
    • A Random Short Code is a randomly assigned 5 or 6-digit number
    • A Vanity Short Code is a 5 or 6-digit number that is specifically selected by the sender company due as it refers to its brand, product or service or is easy to remember
  • Toll-free numbers are nation-wide numbers that were created to enable users to freely communicate with companies with the cost paid by the companies. Recently, companies have begun utilizing toll-free numbers for A2P messaging since the setup process and cost are lower than short codes while the throughput rate is superior to long code numbers. This makes toll-free numbers an ideal method for mass marketing campaigns over a relatively short time interval to an opted-in mobile database.