Messaging

What is Local A2P (and why are we so excited for it)?

Brad Roldan
Brad Roldan
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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a Messaging Revolution going on. With new fees around A2P SMS traffic, the sunsetting of shared short codes, and new technologies emerging, it’s a crazy time for messaging, with new announcements coming what feels like every week

One of the biggest changes that’s coming is what industry insiders refers to as 10DLC, which of course raises the question…

What’s this Local A2P I’m hearing about?

The messaging ecosystem has been working hard on creating a better messaging experience for companies that want to communicate with local phone numbers. The industry program is often referred to by the moniker 10DLC (pronounced Ten Dee Ell Cee). The name was meant to expand to 10-Digit Long Code describes how businesses can send sanctioned A2P traffic on local ten-digit phone numbers.  The market name for this program is Long A2P, though you can say “10DLC” if you want to geek out with your telecom knowledge.

Was something broken that needed fixing?

In short, YES.

When the carrier messaging ecosystem envisioned business messaging at high volumes, the assumption was that all use cases would use short codes. In fact, the CTIA worked closely with carriers to define how local numbers should be used. You can read the details here. The summary is that SMS traffic patterns are considered either P2P (person-to-person) or A2P (application-to-person).

While the industry set guidelines for appropriate traffic patterns on local numbers, the ecosystem failed to provide a viable path for businesses that require local phone numbers for high volume SMS.

The result was unpredictable delivery of business SMS sent to customers who prefer notifications and updates via SMS. Local numbers were originally envisioned for P2P traffic, leaving well-meaning business traffic subject to industry filtering for inadvertently engaging in A2P traffic patterns.

Long Code A2P will bridge the gap between business demands for high volume SMS and reliability,  all with the important benefit of using a recognizable local phone number.

What else is new?

“But what about short codes or toll-free SMS?” I hear you asking. That’s a good question.

The fees around short codes are continuing to go up, and with carriers like AT&T announcing they’ll block shared short code traffic, businesses that rely on selling those short codes are going to see their business model disrupted.

As for toll-free SMS, it’s still a great option, and one that we still highly recommend (seriously, give us a call about it anytime), but there are use cases where a local phone number gives a better user experience and level of trust than a toll-free phone number; businesses like Yelp or Google Business often need to send lots of messages, but the local nature of their business model makes using toll-free SMS less appealing.

So why are we so excited for Local A2P?

All of that explains what Local A2P is, but it doesn’t really explain why we’re so excited about it (and believe me, we’re excited).

With recent decisions by Verizon to impose fees for A2P traffic and and AT&T’s plans to sunset support of shared short codes, the need for Local A2P has never been more pressing. Local A2P will not only fill the gap that the shared short code shutdown creates, but offers businesses an economical way to access high-volume messaging with fast time to market and low startup costs.

Metrics for success

Enterprise users of Long Code P2P messaging may have noticed that delivery receipts can often be misleading. A “delivered” receipt usually means a message was successful, but not in all cases. Why? Delivery receipts with Long Code P2P can only tell you if a message made it to a carrier’s network and gives no indication if a message made it to a mobile handset.

What makes Local A2P better?

With some mobile networks, enterprises can expect delivery receipts that let you know if the message actually made it to the mobile handset. Now enterprises can get real visibility into the performance of their SMS campaigns.

Excited? Ready to talk?

Ready to learn more about Local A2P? Give us a shout to learn more about it, and download our messaging revolution eBook to learn more about all the changes coming to messaging in 2019 and beyond.

Talk to us about Local A2P Check out the ebook