Understanding Short Codes

Widely known in the industry as “short numbers,” a common short code is a 5 or 6 digit number that allows a software application to communicate with a mobile device. The carriers utilize short codes to allow for higher bandwidth and business to consumer messaging. Something SMS long codes do not support very well.

It is likely that the reason you are here reading this is because your SMS long code campaigns have begun to fail frequently. The carriers don’t particularly like to see a large amount of SMS traffic coming from long codes as they are primarily used for spam. They act quickly to shut those numbers down so they can protect SMS messaging from becoming the next generation email problem.

Thus, there are four very good reasons to work with the CRM Text SMS API’s short codes.

High Volume:
The carriers expect large volumes of messages over a short code and allow it as long as abuse is not occurring.

Lower Fail Rate:
As you have read above, the carriers can frown on long codes from time to time. A short code message has a much higher degree of delivery success as long as the SMS is to a mobile subscriber on a carrier that supports short codes.

Bandwidth:
The carriers allow up to 30 messages per second to be delivered on CRM Text short codes. This allows campaigns to fly out the door quicker. With an SMS long code, you are limited to 1 message per second. If you need higher bandwidth, the carriers will allow that as well, but contact us to inquire about pricing. Be prepared though. It isn't cheap.

Delivery Reporting:
The CRM Text SMS API takes advantage of the carrier error reporting on deliverability. In nearly 80% of circumstances we will know if the message was delivered. However, read receipts are not available at this time and likely will not be available in the future.

CRM Text also gets failure reports. When a message fails, the CRM Text SMS API takes additional action by attempting to deliver that text message on a long code. Messages can fail for a variety of reasons. Not all of your Customers will be on a short code supported mobile carrier. We will attempt the message on a long code.

Google Voice Numbers:
Currently our short codes are not connected to Google Voice. We do not get accurate error reporting for messages attempted to Google Voice. No inbound messages from a Google Voice number will be received on our marketing or communication short codes. However, for outbound messages to Google Voice, we check the carrier ID on each message that we send and if it matches Google Voice, we will send the message on a long code.

Please be advised though that delivery success to Google Voice numbers vary.

What Carriers Support Short Codes?

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and, Virgin Mobile USA, Cellular South, Boost Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, Midwest Wireless, SunCom, US Cellular Corp, Centennial, Voce, Nextel and nTelos. Major carrier subsidiaries are also included. Keep in mind that some carriers have mobile plans that block short codes. Sprint and T-Mobile are two carriers that this occurs on. So even though a carrier is listed on our list does not mean that all of their subscribers will get short code text messages. Both carriers allow Customers to call their support lines and turn on short code messaging or approve certain short codes at no extra charge.