To send an SMS message you require an SMS sender ID which could be a short code, a long code, or a toll free number. The type of sender ID you choose depends on your business requirements.  

When selecting an SMS sender type, you must consider the following factors:

  • Your budget
  • Required throughput (messages sent per second)
  • Message volume

Short Codes 

Short codes are 5-6 digit numbers that are used to send and receive messages. Short codes can become a part of your brand and with increased brand recognition, customers are less likely to opt-out unintentionally. Short codes are registered with wireless carriers and as such you can migrate your SMS service without changing the mobile number and avoid confusion among customers.

You can also opt for a vanity short code, which is a short code number of your choice. A vanity code that resonates with your brand can make it easier for customers to identify it. For example, 12345, 42424, 07007.

Long Codes (10DLC)

A 10-digit long code (10DLC) phone number facilitates A2P (Application to Person) messaging and is used by businesses for marketing purposes. You can use various area specific codes to indicate a local presence to customers.

Toll Free number

A toll free telephone number, is a telephone number that is billed for all arriving calls. A toll free number is a great option if you want to use one number for both SMS messages and phone calls. Customers who contact you on this telephone number do not incur any charges for voice calls or SMS messages. A toll free number begins with one of the following area codes: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. 


Here is a comparison of the features for the various SMS Sender Types.

  Short Code Long code (10DLC) Toll Free Number
Number Type 5-6 Digit Numbers (U.S. Only) Area specific numbers for local presence in US/Canada Distinct 3 digit Toll-Free area codes
Carrier Provisioning 4-6 Weeks Standard: 3-5 Days SBC: 3-4 Weeks 3-5 Days
MMS Yes Yes, U.S. and Canada Yes in the U.S. and partial in Canada


Message Parts per Second (MPS)

500 MPS

Have the highest throughput and hence offer speed and scalability.

Upto 75 MPS

Throughput varies from carrier to carrier.

10 MPS

Have the lowest throughout.

Keywords Required Opt-in/out and HELP Opt-in/out and HELP STOP, UNSTOP - network managed
Requires Brand Vetting  Yes - U.S. Only Yes Recommended
Requires Campaign Approval Yes Yes via TCR (The Campaign Registry) Yes
Application Process Completion of US Short Code Program Completion of 10DLC Registration Completion of TFN Verified Sender Request


Short codes cost more than long code, have a vetting process, and the approval time is also longer. However, once the short code is approved, the messages you send are subject to less scrutiny.


They are budget friendly and available at a lower cost than short codes. They are designated for A2P messages and hence are less likely to be rejected or filtered by carriers.


Because of their low throughput, toll free numbers work best in person-to-person communication with both the sender and the recipient having a conversation via text.

Example use case A marketing campaign for a timed promotion (for e.g. a one day sale) where messages are sent to a large number of customers in a short period of time. Transactional messages for items customers have ordered. These are sent at various times throughout the day.

For customer support or sales.

An SMS two way conversation with a customer that is followed by a phone call from customer support.


If you opt for Blueshift’s SMS Full Service package, Blueshift will work with you to provision your SMS sender ID. Otherwise, you must work with your SMS provider to get your SMS sender ID.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful



Please sign in to leave a comment.