Originating identities for SMS messages - Amazon Pinpoint

Originating identities for SMS messages

When you send SMS messages using Amazon Pinpoint, you can identify yourself to your recipients in one of three ways: by using a sender ID, by using a long code, or by using a short code. These methods of identifying yourself to your customers are known as originating identities. Each of these types of originating identities has its own advantages and disadvantages, which are discussed in the following sections. Dedicated origination numbers are country-specific. You can't request a dedicated origination number for one country but then use it as an originator for another country.

Sender IDs

A sender ID is an alphabetic name that identifies the sender of an SMS message. When you send an SMS message using a sender ID, and the recipient is in an area where sender ID authentication is supported, your sender ID appears on the recipient's device instead of a phone number. A sender ID provides SMS recipients with more information about the sender than a phone number or short code provides.

Sender IDs are supported in several countries and regions around the world. In some places, if you're a business that sends SMS messages to individual customers, you must use a sender ID that's pre-registered with a regulatory agency or industry group. For a complete list of countries and regions that support or require sender IDs, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

Advantages

Sender IDs provide the recipient with more information about the message sender. It's easier to establish your brand identity by using a sender ID than by using a short or long code. There's no additional charge for using a sender ID.

Disadvantages

Support and requirements for sender ID authentication aren't consistent across all countries or regions. Several major markets (including Canada, China, and the United States) don't support sender ID. In some areas, you must have your sender IDs pre-approved by a regulatory agency before you can use them.

Long codes

Long codes are phone numbers that use the number format of the country or region where your recipients are located. Long codes are also referred to as long numbers or virtual mobile numbers. For example, in the United States and Canada, long codes contain 11 digits: the number 1 (the country code), a three-digit area code, and a seven-digit phone number.

If you're using the two-way SMS feature to send and receive SMS messages, you can request up to five dedicated long codes per country. For more information about requesting long codes, see Requesting dedicated long codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint. If you want to use local long codes in the United States to send SMS messages you'll need to request a 10DLC, which is a ten-digit long code dedicated only for use in the United States. For more information about 10DLC, see 10DLC.

Advantages

Dedicated long codes are reserved for use by your Amazon Pinpoint account only—they aren't shared with other users. When you use dedicated long codes, you can specify which long code you want to use when you send each message. If you send multiple messages to the same customer, you can ensure that each message appears to be sent from the same phone number. For this reason, dedicated long codes can be helpful in establishing your brand or identity.

Disadvantages

If you send several hundred messages per day from a dedicated long code, mobile carriers might identify your number as one that sends unsolicited messages. If your long code is flagged, your messages might not be delivered to your recipients.

Long codes also have limited throughput. In the United States and Canada, where long codes are most commonly used, you can send a maximum of one message per second. The maximum sending rates for other countries vary. Contact AWS Support for more information. If you plan to send large volumes of SMS messages, or you plan to send at a rate greater than one message per second, you should purchase a dedicated short code.

In the United States, local long codes cannot be used for A2P SMS messages.

Many jurisdictions have restrictions related to using long codes to send Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS messages. An A2P SMS is a message that's sent to a customer's mobile device when that customer submits his or her mobile number to an application. A2P messages are one-way conversations, such as marketing messages, one-time passwords, and appointment reminders. If you plan to send A2P messages, you should purchase a dedicated short code (if your customers are in the United States or Canada), request a 10DLC (only if your customers are in the United States), or use a sender ID (if your recipients are in a country or region where sender IDs are supported).

A 10DLC number is used only for sending messages within the US. Using a 10DLC number requires that you register your company brand and the campaign that you want to associate the number with. Once approved you can request a 10DLC phone number on the SMS and voice page of the Amazon Pinpoint console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/pinpoint/. Once requested, the time to receive approval is 7-10 days. The number can't be used with any other campaigns.

Toll-free numbers

Toll-free numbers are typically used for transactional messaging, such as registration confirmation or for sending one-time passwords and only used within the US. They can be used for both voice messaging and SMS. Average throughput is three message parts per second (MPS); however, this throughput is affected by character encoding. For more information about how character encoding affects message parts, see SMS character limits in Amazon Pinpoint.

When using a toll-free number as an originator, it's best to follow these guidelines:

  • Don't use shortened URLs created from third-party URL shorteners, as these messages are more likely to be filtered as spam. If you want to use a shortened URL consider using a 10LDC phone number or short code. Using either of these number types require that you register your message template, which can then include a shortened URL in the message.

  • Keyword opt-out and opt-in responses are set at the carrier level, using STOP and UNSTOP. These keywords can't be modified, and no other keywords can be used. Response messages when a user replies with STOP and UNSTOP are also carrier-managed and can't be modified.

  • Don't send the same or similar message contents using multiple toll-free numbers. This is considered "snowshoeing", and is typically used by spammers to avoid number rate and volume limitations.

  • Toll-free numbers are subject to content filtering. The following table describes the types of restricted content:

    Category Examples

    High-risk financial services

    • Payday loans

    • Short-term high-interest loans

    • Auto loans

    • Mortgage loans

    • Student loans

    • Debt collection

    Debt forgiveness
    • Debt consolidation

    • Debt reduction

    • Credit repair programs

    Get-rich-quick schemes
    • Work-from-home programs

    • Risk-investment opportunities

    • Pyramid or multi-level marketing schemes

    Illegal substances
    • Cannabis

    Phishing
    • Attempts to get users to reveal personal information or website login information.

    S.H.A.F.T.
    • Sex

    • Hate

    • Alcohol

    • Firearms

    • Tobacco

Advantages

Toll-free originators have higher MPS over long codes as well as good deliverability. Because there's no message template registration, you can purchase a toll-free number for use instantly on the SMS and voice page of the Amazon Pinpoint console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/pinpoint/.

Disadvantages

There's no control over opt-outs and opt-ins as these are managed at the carrier level.

You should neither include shortened URLs in your message, nor use the number to send a promotional message. Instead use a 10DLC number or a short code. When you use a short code or 10DLC number, you need to register your message templates, which can contain shortened URLs, and can be promotional messages. Additional information about short codes is described below. For more information about 10DLC, see 10DLC.

Short codes

Short codes are numeric sequences that are shorter than a regular phone number. For example, in the United States and Canada, standard phone numbers (long codes) contain 11 digits, while short codes contain five or six digits. If you send a large volume of SMS messages to recipients in the United States or Canada, you can purchase a short code. This short code is reserved for your exclusive use.

Note

Shared short codes are no longer supported by US carriers and are no longer available through Amazon Pinpoint.

Advantages

Using a memorable short code can help build trust. If you need to send sensitive information, such as one-time passwords, it's a good idea to send it using a short code so that your customer can quickly determine whether a message is actually from you.

If you're running a new customer acquisition campaign, you can invite potential customers to send a keyword to your short code (for example, "Text FOOTBALL to 10987 for football news and information"). Short codes are easier to remember than long codes, and it's easier for customers to enter short codes into their devices. By reducing the amount of difficulty that customers encounter when they sign up for your marketing programs, you can increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Because mobile carriers must approve new short codes before making them active, they are less likely to flag messages sent from short codes as unsolicited.

When you use short codes to send SMS messages, you can send a higher volume of messages per 24-hour period than you can when you use other types of originating identities. In other words, you have a much higher sending quota. You can also send a much higher volume of messages per second. That is, you have a much higher sending rate.

Disadvantages

There are additional costs to acquire short codes, and they can take a long time to implement. For example, in the United States, there's a one-time setup fee of $650.00 (USD) for each short code, plus an additional recurring charge of $995.00 per month for each short code. It can take 8–12 weeks for short codes to become active on all carrier networks. To find the price and provisioning time for a different country or region, complete the procedure described in Requesting short codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint.