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Short codes

  • How much does a short code cost?

    A short code is a five- or six-digit number that can send SMS and MMS messages to and receive them from mobile phones. Short codes are recommended for high-volume applications. 

    Plivo short codes can send 50 messages per second by default. If you need a higher sending rate, contact sales.

    How much does a short code cost?

    Plivo offers short codes in the US and Canada. Plivo short codes have one-time setup fees, regularly billed service charges, and per-message usage charges. Here’s a breakdown of all fees and charges.

    One-time setup fees

    The following fees are charged once when setting up a short code with Plivo:

    Country

    Fee Type

    One-Time Cost

    USA

    Setup fee

    $1,500

    Canada

    Setup fee

    $4,000

     

    Short code recurring charges

    Short code leases and service charges are billed on a quarterly basis (once every three months) or on an annual basis (once every year). 

    Country

    Short Code Type

    Cost

    USA

    Regular (random number)

    $1,500/quarter

    Vanity

    $3,000/quarter

    Canada

    Regular (random number)

    $2,800/4 months

     

    Short code message pricing

    Short code usage is billed at a per-message rate.

    Country

    Message Type

    Cost

    USA 

    SMS

    US pricing

    Canada

    SMS

    Canada pricing

    Additional carrier passthrough fees: Some carriers have passthrough fees charged on a per-message basis, which are added to your message cost based on the carrier and message type.

    Short code carrier passthrough fees

    Country

    Message Type

    Cost

    US

    SMS

    US pricing

    Canada

    SMS

    Canada pricing

  • How long does the carrier approval process take?

    The standard timeline for a carrier to complete the short code approval process is four to six weeks. We do our best to expedite carrier approval, but sometimes the process can take longer.

    We work closely with the carriers and will provide you with updates on your short code’s status as they come in. If at any point you have questions, please contact us.

     

  • How do I procure a new short code?

    To procure a new short code, reach out to our sales team. They can help you through the entire procurement process. Learn about short code requirements in our guide to best practices for getting a short code number

      

  • Can I transfer my CSCA short code lease to Plivo?

    Yes, you can. You must provide a receipt from CSCA (usshortcodes.com) that shows at least three months of leasing for your short code. Contact sales and we can help you get the process started.

    For our complete guide to porting a short code, please visit our short code port-in page.

     

  • What are the short code HELP and STOP messages requirements?

    The short code HELP and STOP messages are lines of text that tells users how to get help related to an SMS campaign or how to stop or unsubscribe from the campaign. This message is a requirement and must be included in all SMS campaigns using US short codes. Once Plivo receives a message, it sends a callback with message attributes to the message_url.

    HELP message text

    Help messages must contain either a support email address or a phone number, the message frequency, and advance notice of any charges. 

    STOP message text

    Stop messages must include some type of helpful information in addition to confirming the opt-out.

    An example of a properly formatted STOP message: “You have been opted out and will receive no more messages from Farm League Baseball Sports service. flb.com/help or 800-888-8888.”

    Required synonyms include: STOP ALL, END, QUIT, CANCEL, UNSUB, and UNSUBSCRIBE

    Plivo will work with you to help achieve compliance with help and stop messages. Note that in addition to HELP and STOP messages, all short code messages need to state the following:

    1. “Message and data rates may apply”
    2. The specific expected message frequency the user will receive — for example, “1 message/day,” “5 messages/month,” “1 message/user request”)
    3. “Text HELP to [your short code number] for help.” (note that HELP must appear in bold)
    4. “Text STOP to [your short code number] to cancel.” (note that STOP must appear in bold)
    5. URL of the SMS terms of service
    6. URL of your privacy policy 

    Please note that Plivo does not control carrier regulations and is not in a position to interpret any laws, rules, or regulations. Plivo will work with you and the carrier to help you become compliant. However, you should seek legal counsel to clarify laws and regulations as they apply to your company’s specific practices. Each carrier reserves the right to suspend short code service for any user at any time.

  • For what countries do you support short codes? How many messages per second can I send with short codes?

    We offer short codes in the US and Canada. We expect to be able to make short codes available soon in the UK and other countries. 

    Our short code default base rate is 50 SMS messages per second, with higher rates available upon request. Please contact sales if you want to increase your sending rate.

  • Best Practices for Getting a Short Code Number

    Plivo will help you obtain a short code as quickly as possible by making sure you meet the requirements before we submit your application to the carrier.

    This document guides you through the preparation steps and application process. If at any time you’d like the assistance of someone at Plivo, or if you have any questions, please reach out to our sales team.

    We need the information mentioned in this document to vet your campaign order; missing information will cause delays. US and Canada-based programs are launched commercially based on information approved by carriers. Missing or incorrect information may result in a carrier audit that may delay your campaigns.

    Common requirements for all short code campaigns:

    • Specific verbiage, syntax, and wording: Carriers require specific language when instructing customers via mobile terminated (MT) messages how to opt out of a program or how to get help. For example: “Reply STOP to cancel” or “Reply HELP for help”
    • Advance notice of charges: Advise subscribers of possible carrier charges. For example: “Message and data rates may apply" or “Message frequency may vary"
    • For all campaigns with recurring alerts and those that require opting in, the keywords HELP and STOP must be supported.

    Help messages must contain either a support email address or a phone number, as well as information about message frequency, and advance notice of charges. 

    Required synonym information: INFO

    Stop message must include helpful information in addition to confirming the opt-out.

    Example of properly formatted STOP message: “You have been opted out and will receive no more messages from Farm League Baseball Sports service. flb.com/help or 800-888-8888.”

    Required synonyms: STOP ALL, END, QUIT, CANCEL, UNSUB, and UNSUBSCRIBE

    All opt-in confirmation MT messages must contain a program description (for example,
    “Movie alerts”), frequency of messaging (or credits remaining), and campaign name or the program sponsor, including the HELP message.

    • Sample opt-in message for an alert service with movie times: “Movie alerts — you will receive up to 5 messages a week. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Message and data rates may apply.”
    • Note that carriers require that all campaigns for a short code be identified. Carriers will reject campaigns that don't identify the specific organization or entity using the short code. This most commonly impacts organizations that wish to secure a short code and then resell that service to a third-party customer.

    Web opt-in mobile identification number requirements

    •      Add “Text HELP to nnnnn for help” and “Text STOP to nnnnn to stop”
    •      Add “Message and data rates may apply” or “Msg&data rates may apply”
    •      Include frequency of messages, or say that message frequency depends on user activity or something similar
    •      Include link to terms and privacy pages
    •      Screenshots are permissible
    •      To gain carrier approval, all provided websites must be functional. If the production site is not ready, carriers will ask to review screenshots of the opt-in process.

    Web opt-in

    Carriers look for specific language on the opt-in web form. We need a link to your web form or a screenshot of it to submit the application. The web form must include the following: 

    • Opt-out and help keywords in BOLD letters
    • The short code that will be used to send SMS messages
    • The frequency at which users will receive messages
    • List of participating carriers
    • Link to terms and conditions and privacy policy pages

    Here's an example that shows what a disclaimer on your web page should contain:

    You will receive up to 5 messages per day. Message and data rates may apply. Text HELP to 75486 for help. Text STOP to 75486 to cancel. Supported carriers: AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile. See our SMS Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

    Keyword opt-in 

    Keywords are mandatory for all services delivered via short code. The service must support keywords for opt-in, opt-out, and help. When a user texts any of the supported keywords, the service must have an auto-response that contains specific language around the messaging frequency and message rates.

    Examples:

    Keyword: START

    Response: Thank you subscribing to Plivo’s notification services. Reply HELP for more information. Reply STOP to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary per user.

    Keyword: HELP

    Response:  You can email us at support@plivo.com. Reply STOP to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary per user.

     Keyword: STOP

    Response: You have been unsubscribed from nnnnn and will no longer receive messages. Reply HELP for help. Reply START to resume services.

    Terms and conditions

    You must submit the URL to your terms and conditions page with your short code application. Here’s what you need to include in your T&Cs. 

    1. A brief description of what you're using the short code for.

    Example: We send job alerts to users who have registered on our site and opted in to receive SMS job alerts.

    1. The opt-in process for new users: a short description of how new users can opt in to your services. The opt-in process may include any of the following methods:
    • Keyword opt-in: Text START to 75486 to subscribe to our notifications services.
    • Web opt-in: Sign up through a web form. Users can subscribe to our notifications services while registering an account through the website or changing your notifications preferences in the account settings.
    • Paper opt-in: Sign up by filling out a paper form at a store or kiosk. Users can subscribe to our notification services by completing the membership form at XYZ stores.
    1. Opt-out and help keywords in BOLD including the short code digits. 

    Example: You can cancel the SMS service at any time. To cancel, text "STOP" to nnnnn. When we receive a "STOP" message, we'll send one last confirmation SMS to confirm the subscription status, after which no more SMS messages will be sent.

    For more information, just text "HELP" to nnnnn. When we receive a “HELP” message, we'll provide instructions on how to use this service and how to unsubscribe.

    1. List of participating carriers

    Example: Participating carriers include: AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile.

    1. The following statement, verbatim: T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages. 
    1. A “message and data rate” statement, accompanied by a “message frequency” statement

    Example: As always, message and data rates may apply for any messages sent or received. You will receive approximately three messages per week. If you have any questions about your text plan or data plan, please contact your wireless provider.

    1. A link to your privacy policy page
    2. A support email address and phone number that short code message recipients can use to contact you

    A complete messaging policy section for a terms and conditions page might read as follows.

    Messaging Policy

    Plivo offers an SMS messaging service. You can opt in to our services by texting “START” to 75486. You may choose to opt in to our SMS messaging service at your own discretion, and you may opt out at any time. We will communicate with you via SMS for the purposes of service alerts and notifications. We may also send promotional messages. 

    Participating carriers include: AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile. Carriers are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages. T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.

    As always, message and data rates may apply. You will receive an average of five messages per week, but we may occasionally exceed this number in certain circumstances. If you have any questions about your text plan or data plan, please contact your wireless provider.

    You can cancel the SMS service at any time. To cancel, text "STOP" to 75486. We will respond with a single SMS message to confirm that you have been unsubscribed. After this, you will no longer receive SMS messages from us. 

    You may, at any time, text "HELP" to 75486 for a brief help message. We will respond with instructions on how to use our service as well as how to unsubscribe. You may also contact Plivo support at: +1 (877) 555-1212 or email us at sms_support@plivo.com. You can view our privacy policy here.

     

     

  • What ways can users opt in to receiving messages?

    New users can opt in to receive messages and calls from your business through any of these three options: 

    • Keyword opt-in: for instance, “text START to 75486 to subscribe to our notification services”
    • Web opt-in: Signup through a web form. Users can subscribe to your notification services while registering for an account or by changing their notification preferences in the account settings.
    • Paper opt-in: Signup by filling out a paper form at a store or kiosk. 

    Web opt-in

    As they do with your terms and conditions page, carriers look for specific language in opt-in web forms. Plivo needs a link to your web form or a screenshot of it to submit your application. If you use a web form, it must include the following language: 

    • Opt-out and help keywords in BOLD letters
    • The short code that will be used to send SMS messages
    • The frequency at which the end users will receive messages
    • A list of participating carriers
    • Links to the terms and conditions and privacy policy pages

    For example:

    You will receive up to five messages per day. Message and data rates may apply. Text HELP to 75486 for help. Text STOP to 75486 to cancel. Supported carriers: AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile. See our SMS Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

    Screen_Shot_2020-04-03_at_2.09.38_PM.png 

    Keyword opt-in 

    Keywords are mandatory for all services delivered through a short code. Your messaging service must support keywords that trigger opt-in, opt-out, and help commands. When a user texts any of the supported keywords, the service must have an auto-response that contains specific language around messaging frequency and messaging rates.

    Here are a few examples: 

    Keyword: START

    Response: Thank you for subscribing. Reply HELP for more information. Reply STOP to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary per user. 

    Keyword: HELP

    Response:  You can email us at support@plivo.com. Reply STOP to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency may vary per user.

    Keyword: STOP

    Response:  You have been unsubscribed from xxx and will no longer receive messages. Reply HELP for help. Reply START to resume services.

  • How to Write Compliant Terms and Conditions for Your Short Code Application

    Carriers insist that specific language must be present in your publicly available terms and conditions and privacy policy documents. Both of these documents are required as part of your short code application. Here are eight things you must include in your terms and conditions to be compliant with regulations.  

    1. A brief description of what you're using the short code for

    Example: We send job alerts to users who register on our site and opt in to receive SMS job alerts.

    1. The opt-in process for new users: a short description of how new users can opt in to your services. The opt-in process may include any of the following methods:
    • Keyword opt-in: Text START to 75486 to subscribe to our notifications services.
    • Web opt-in: Sign up through a web form. Users can subscribe to our notifications services while registering an account through the website or changing your notifications preferences in the account settings.
    • Paper opt-in: Sign up by filling out a paper form at a store or kiosk. Users can subscribe to our notification services by completing the membership form at XYZ stores.
    1. Opt-out and help keywords in BOLD including the short code digits

    Example: You can cancel the SMS service at any time. Just text "STOP" to XXXXX. When we receive a "STOP" message, we will send one last confirmation SMS to confirm the subscription status, after which no more SMS messages will be sent.

    For more information, text "HELP" to xxxx. When we receive a “HELP” message, we will provide instructions on how to use this service and how to unsubscribe. 

    1. List of participating carriers

    Example: Participating carriers include: AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile.

    1. The following statement, verbatim: T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages. 
    1. A “message and data rate” statement, accompanied by a “message frequency” statement

    Example: As always, message and data rates may apply for any messages sent or received. You will receive approximately three messages per week. If you have any questions about your text plan or data plan, please contact your wireless provider. 

    1. A link to your privacy policy
    2. A support email address and phone number that short code message recipients can use to contact you

    A complete messaging policy section for a terms and conditions page might read as follows. 

    Messaging policy

    Plivo offers an SMS messaging service. You can opt-in to our services by texting “START” to 75486. You may choose to opt-in to our SMS messaging service at your own discretion, and you may opt-out at any time. We will communicate with you via SMS for the purposes of service alerts and notifications. We may also send promotional messages. 

    Participating carriers include AT&T, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, UScellular, and Virgin Mobile. Carriers are not liable for delayed or undelivered messages. T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages.

    As always, message and data rates may apply. You will receive an average of five messages per week, but we may occasionally exceed this number in certain circumstances. If you have questions about your text plan or data plan, please contact your wireless provider.

    You can cancel your SMS service at any time. To cancel, text "STOP" to 75486. We will respond with a single SMS message to confirm that you have been unsubscribed. After this, you will no longer receive SMS messages from us. 

    You may, at any time, text "HELP" to 75486 for a brief help message. We will respond with instructions on how to use our service as well as how to unsubscribe. You may also contact Plivo support at +1 (877) 555-1212 or email us at sms_support@plivo.com. You can view our privacy policy here.

  • Can I port an existing short code to Plivo?

    Yes, you can port an existing short code to Plivo. To do that, we need the following details: 

    1. The authorization of the short code in CSCA. This authorization can be submitted right from the customer portal (CSCA) without needing to submit legal documentation.
    2. A three-month payment receipt. If payments were made on a quarterly basis, we need one receipt. If the payments were made on a monthly basis, we need three receipts. The receipt must be the most recent receipt with all the correct information.
    3. The short code number.

    Please note that we do not port in shared short codes. 

    Once we have all of these details, we will submit the campaign to the carriers. It usually takes four to six weeks for the port to be completed. For more information on the carrier review process, please refer to this article.

  • What are the benefits of having a short code?

    Short codes are the easiest way for a business to send and receive SMS messages at scale. With a default base rate of 50 SMS messages per second (higher rates available upon request), Plivo’s short code service is perfect for time-sensitive info that needs to reach large audiences.

    Under US carrier regulations, only short codes are allowed for application-to-person (A2P) communications. Long codes are only allowed for person-to-person communication (P2P). Carrier regulations also require that the ratio of inbound to outbound SMS for long codes be better than 1:3; there are no such restrictions on short codes. Long codes are tied to an area code, while short codes remain the same nationwide. It’s for these reasons that businesses that need to communicate to customers on a large scale exclusively use short codes.

    We support both vanity short codes and random short codes.

    For more information, see What is the difference between long codes and short codes?

  • What happens during the carrier approval process?

    All short codes must be reviewed by mobile carriers before they can be used. The approval process has two parts:

    Plivo review process (a week to a week and a half):

    Plivo will review your application and help you refine it before submitting it to the carriers. This helps speed up the process. We'll collect rental fees, hosting, and setup charges at this time.

    Carrier review process (four to six weeks):

    Your carrier will then review your application and any related websites or mobile apps. If questions arise, Plivo will work with the carrier to answer them. The carrier will add the short code to its network and test it at this time. Upon final carrier approval, your short code will go live. We will then notify you that your short code is ready to be used.

    Note: Carriers require leasing payments up front in minimum three-month payment intervals. Therefore, we collect those fees with your application submission. You'll be billed for your short code from the beginning of the application process onward. In the event that your application is not approved or is delayed, we'll work with you to edit or resubmit another application.

    Please note that Plivo does not control carrier regulations and is not in a position to interpret any laws, rules, or regulations. Plivo will work with you and the carrier to help address short code compliance issues; however, we advise that our customers seek legal counsel in regard to laws, regulations, and their companies' specific practices. Each carrier reserves the right to suspend short code service for any user at any time.

    For more best practices regarding short codes, see this article. You can also visit the Mobile Marketing Association's Code of Conduct for Mobile Marketing.

  • What happens if my short code is audited?

    Your short code may be subject to an audit by the CTIA or by individual carriers for compliance purposes. Plivo takes a proactive approach to ensure that your campaign is compliant. If your short code is found to be noncompliant, we'll work with you to remedy the situation. You are typically given 48 to 72 hours to resolve any issues. If the issues have not been resolved by the deadline, your short code will be at risk of suspension.

    Visit our Short Code Compliance Guidelines page for more info.

  • What are the differences between long codes and short codes?

    Long codes can send five messages per second. Short codes let your application send SMS messages at 50 messages per second.

    Short codes are best suited for applications that send SMS messages to lots of users, or that send many time-sensitive messages — for example for marketing communications, large-volume messaging, and one-way notifications to users. Depending on the type of application you build and the messages you're sending, a short code may be the only type of number that can support your use case.

    Short codes are not location-specific and can be used nationwide. A short code can send messages only from same-country phone numbers on operator networks that have approved the short code, as they're provisioned on a country-by-country basis.

    Plivo provides short codes only for the US and Canada. For international destinations, you must use regular phone numbers.

     

    Long codes

    Short codes

    What is it?

    A unique 10-digit phone number that’s tied to an area code — for example, 415-484-7489

    A five- to six-digit number that can be used nationwide — for example, PLIVO (75486)

    When do I need it?

    P2P communication: when a person interacts with another person

    A2P communication: when an application interacts with a person

    What applications can I build around it?

    Group messaging, agent-to-person applications, peer-to-peer applications

    Marketing campaigns, alerts, confirmations, two-factor authentication

    How fast can I send my SMS?

    5 SMS per second. Carrier regulations don't allow long codes to be used for SMS broadcasting.

    Default base rate is 50 SMS per second. To increase this rate, contact Sales.

    Are there limitations on my SMS traffic pattern?

    Carrier regulations require that the ratio of inbound to outbound SMS traffic be better than 1:3.

    This means you may not send more than 200 SMS messages per day per long code number.

    No limitations

    How much does it cost?

    Check out our SMS rates on our pricing page.

    Check out our short code page for pricing details.

     

  • What is a short code?

    A short code is a five- or six-digit number used to send to and receive SMS messages from mobile phones. Unlike long codes, short codes are allowed for application-to-person (A2P) communication, which is why businesses that need to communicate to customers on a large scale should use only short codes.

    Plivo offers dedicated short codes for your business needs. Contact our sales team if you have questions about Plivo short codes.