What Is the Difference Between Short Code and Long Code?

Short Code vs. Long Code

SMS services offer a highly efficient way for brands to reach out and build more personable relationships with their customers. 77% of consumers see businesses that use texting to send product updates, appointment reminders, etc., in a better light than those that don’t.

If you want to send text messages but don’t know where to start, this article will get you there. Two types of codes can be used for sending texts: short code and long code; each has its own use cases, which we’ll explore below.

Please note that in America, there are strict regulations on how businesses should interact with customers via SMS. Sending an SMS incorrectly can result in a discontinuation of your service and/or a fine of up to $1500 per message. Contact our experts for further information on the regulatory restrictions.

What Is an SMS Short Code?

Short codes are used to send SMS messages, and they are typically five or six digits in length. Here are some examples of short codes:

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • Payment reminders
  • Appointment alerts
  • Discount coupons
  • News alerts

If you are sending a large quantity of messages (i.e. a marketing campaign to all your customers), your messages have the potential to be blocked as spam. Using short codes, as opposed to long codes, lessens the risk of being marked as spam. The main reason is that a business must first register its use case and get vetted to send messages from a short code. This process can take 8-12 weeks.




What Is an SMS Long Code?

Long codes, also known as long virtual numbers (LVNs) or long numbers are 10 or 11 digits in length, and designated by mobile operators for peer-to-peer (P2P) communications. They can be used for both voice calls and two-way texting. They were originally designed for P2P communications, not for mass texting. In early 2021, companies could start to apply for 10DLC for A2P messaging. The process is faster than short code and generally you can start sending text messages from long numbers in 2-3 weeks.

Here are some examples of long codes:

  • customer service communications
  • anonymous dating apps
  • chat apps
Description Short Code Long Code
Format 5 or 6 digit number (i.e. 78941) 10-digit number (i.e. 415.656.1000)
Messaging Type A2P A2P or P2P
Setup Time 8-12 weeks 2-3 weeks
Throughput 30 mps up to 400 mps (can handle high volume) 1 mps up to 30 mps depending on Trust Score
Max Messages per Day No max Traffic must be bi-directional, supports two-way texting, MMS and voice communications
Regulatory CTIA & TCPA Immediately turned off for marketing messages
Use Cases High-volume SMS for marketing campaigns, appointment reminders, 2FA, opt-in campaigns Chat applications, customer service

Short Code or Long?

Sending text messages is an effective way to connect to customers and prospective customers. The type of number you send from will depend on how large your audience is, the frequency of which you send messages, how fast they need to be sent and what your budget is.

For high-volume A2P messaging, short code numbers are often the preferred choice. Short codes deliver SMS at an average rate of 100 mps (message segments per second), which is ideal to send time-sensitive messages to a large number of users at once.

Long codes are ideal for two-way interpersonal communication, such as phone conversations and standard text messages. Service companies have traditionally utilized ten-digit numbers for communicating rather than marketing campaigns, but 10DLC has altered that. Also, long codes are more widely available and the setup time is shorter.

Signalmash SMS/MMS API Solutions

With the rise of mobile messaging, Signalmash has made it easy for developers to integrate text messaging into their applications. Our SMS/MMS API provides a simple way of doing this, reducing complexity significantly so that you can focus on getting your business messaging across to your target audience. We are like Twilio without the fluff. We focus on the functions that really matter and don’t compete against our customers.

Reach out to us today. Let us show you how quickly you can start sending SMS messages through our messaging API.

Ask us how you can cut your Twilio or CPaaS bill up to 50%!!





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