Choosing a phone number or sender ID - Amazon Pinpoint SMS

Choosing a phone number or sender ID

When you send SMS messages using Amazon Pinpoint SMS, you can identify yourself to your recipients by using a sender ID, long code, 10 digit long code(10DLC), short code or toll-free number. Each of these types of identities has its own advantages and disadvantages, which are discussed in the following sections. Dedicated phone numbers are country-specific. You can't request a dedicated phone number for one country but then use it as an identity for another country.

Using the Amazon Pinpoint SMS console, we’ll recommend one of the below origination identities depending on your use-case. Recommendations are based on your input criteria including if you require SMS and/or voice capabilities, a two-way number, and estimate monthly messages.

Sender ID

A sender ID is an alphanumeric 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 SMS country capabilities and limitations.

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. Sender IDs do not support two-way SMS messaging.

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.

Advantages

Dedicated long codes are reserved for use by your Amazon Pinpoint SMS 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. Dedicated long codes support two-way SMS messages and you can receive incoming messages from your customers..

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. For more information see 10 digit long code (10DLC).

10 digit long code (10DLC)

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.

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. Once requested, the time to receive approval is 7-10 days. The number can't be used with any other campaigns.

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 SMS.

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.

Toll-free number (TFN)

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 limits and restrictions.

US mobile carriers require that you register your toll-free number before live messaging will be enabled, see Registrations. When using or registering a toll-free number, it's best to follow the guidelines in the Best Practices section for Prohibited message content

General considerations for choosing an origination identity

There are several guidelines to consider when you're deciding what type of origination identity to use:

  • Sender IDs are a great option for one-way use cases. However, they're not available in all countries.

  • Short codes are a great option for two-way use cases. If you have to choose between using a short code or a long code, you should choose the short code.

  • In some countries (such as India and Saudi Arabia), long codes can be used to receive incoming messages, but can't be used to send outgoing messages. You can use these inbound-only long codes to provide your recipients with a way to opt out of messages that you send using a Sender ID.

  • In some countries, we maintain a pool of shared origination identities. If you send messages to recipients in a particular country, but you don't have a dedicated origination identity in that country, we make an effort to deliver your message using one of these shared identities. Shared identities are unavailable in some countries, including the United States and China.

  • The mobile industry changes rapidly. In many countries, there is a trend toward increased regulation of commercial SMS messages. Carriers may, with little or no warning, decide to disallow messages sent from shared origination identities. If this happens, we will attempt to tell you about these changes with as much advance warning as possible. However, carriers generally provide us with little advance notice of these changes. For these reasons, dedicated origination identities are always preferred to shared ones.

Choosing an origination identity for one-way messaging use cases

A one-way messaging use case is a use case that only involves sending outgoing SMS messages to your recipients. This section provides information about choosing the right type of origination identity for your one-way messaging use case. If your use case requires two-way messaging—that is, the ability to both send outgoing messages and receive incoming messages—answer the questions in Choosing an origination identity for two-way messaging use cases instead.

One-way messaging use cases can use short codes, long codes, toll-free numbers, or alphanumeric Sender IDs as their origination identity. The right kind of origination identity to use depends on your specific needs, and on the countries that your recipients are located in.

Answer the following questions to determine the right type of origination identity for your needs. If you have recipients in multiple countries, answer these questions for each country that your recipients are located in.

  1. Are you planning to send messages to recipients in the United States?

  2. Which of the following throughput rates best fits your use case? Your throughput rate is the number of message parts that you can send each second.

    • 1–3 message parts per second: Use a toll-free number. You can also use 10DLC numbers or short codes. These number types provide plenty of room for growth, but also cost more and take longer to obtain than a toll-free number.

      For more information about requesting a toll-free number, see Request a phone number.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • 10–75 message parts per second: Use a 10DLC number. You can also use a short code, which would provide additional room for growth, but would also cost more.

      For more information about setting up 10DLC, see 10DLC registration process.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • 100 message parts per second or more: Use a short code. When you create your request in the AWS Support Center Console, specify the throughput rate that you want your short code to support. US short codes support 100 message parts per second by default, but the throughput rate can be increased beyond that rate for an additional monthly fee.

      For more information about requesting a short code, see Requesting short codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint SMS.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

  3. Is it important for all of your messages to come from the same origination identity?

  4. Are Sender IDs supported in the country that you plan to send messages to? For a list of countries that support Sender IDs, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

  5. Does the country that you plan to send messages to require pre-registration of Sender IDs? For a list of countries that require Sender ID registration, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

    • If you answered Yes, complete the Sender ID process for the destination country. When the registration process is complete, you can use your Sender ID to send messages.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • If you answered No, you can specify your Sender ID when you send your messages.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

  6. Are you planning to send messages to recipients in India?

    • If you answered Yes, you can start sending immediately. However, the messages that you send are charged at the International Long-Distance Operator (ILDO) rate, which costs several times more than messages sent using a registered Sender ID. If costs are an important factor, you should consider registering your company and use case in India. When you complete this registration process, you can send messages at the less-expensive local rate.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • If you answered No, you can start sending without obtaining an origination identity. Your messages are sent using an origination identity that is shared with other Amazon Pinpoint users. The capabilities of the mobile networks in the destination country determine what identity is shown to recipients when they receive a message from you. In countries that support unregistered Sender IDs, your messages are sent using a generic Sender ID (such as "NOTICE"). In countries that don't support Sender IDs, your messages are sent from a random long code or short code.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

  7. Are dedicated short codes available in the country that you plan to send messages to? For a list of countries that support dedicated short codes, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

    • If you answered Yes, you should use a short code.

    • If you answered No, proceed to question 8.

  8. Are dedicated long codes available in the country that you plan to send messages to? For a list of countries that support dedicated long codes, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

    • If you answered Yes, you can use a dedicated long code. However, if any other type of dedicated identity is available in that country (such as Sender IDs or short codes), you should use the other identity type instead. Carriers are more likely to block messages that are sent using long codes if other origination identity types are also available.

      For more information about requesting dedicated SMS long codes, see Requesting dedicated long codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint SMS.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • If you answered No, you can start sending without obtaining an origination ID. Your messages are sent using an origination identity that is shared with other Amazon Pinpoint users. The capabilities of the mobile networks in the destination country determine what identity is shown to recipients when they receive a message from you. In countries that support unregistered Sender IDs, your messages are sent using a generic Sender ID (such as "NOTICE"). In countries that don't support Sender IDs, your messages are sent from a random long code or short code.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination identity to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

Choosing an origination identity for two-way messaging use cases

A two-way messaging use case is a use case that involves both sending outgoing SMS messages to your customers and receiving incoming SMS messages from them. This section provides information about choosing the right type of origination identity for your two-way messaging use case. If your use case requires one-way messaging—that is, only the ability to send outgoing messages—answer the questions in Choosing an origination identity for one-way messaging use cases instead.

If you plan to receive incoming SMS messages, you must have a dedicated phone number. There are different types of dedicated phone numbers depending on the country where your customers are located.

Answer the following questions to determine the right type of origination identity for your needs. If you have recipients in multiple countries, answer these questions for each country that your recipients are located in.

  1. Is two-way messaging supported in the country that you plan to send messages to? For a full list of countries that support two-way messaging, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

  2. Are you planning to send messages to recipients in the United States?

  3. Which of the following throughput rates best fits your requirements? Your throughput rate is the number of message parts that you can send each second.

    • 1–3 message parts per second: Use a toll-free number. You can also use 10DLC numbers or short codes. These number types will provide plenty of room for growth, but will also cost more and take longer to obtain.

      For more information about requesting a toll-free number, see Request a phone number.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • 10–75 message parts per second: Use a 10DLC number. A short code will also work for your use case, and will provide additional room for growth, but it will also cost more.

      For more information about setting up 10DLC, see 10DLC registration process.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • 100 message parts per second or more: Use a short code. When you create your request in the AWS Support Center Console, specify the throughput rate that you want your short code to support. US short codes support 100 message parts per second by default, but the throughput rate can be increased beyond that rate for an additional monthly fee.

      For more information about requesting a short code, see Requesting short codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint SMS.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

  4. Are dedicated short codes available in the country that you plan to send messages to? For a list of countries where short codes are available, see Supported countries and regions (SMS channel).

    • If you answered Yes, use a dedicated short code. For more information about requesting a short code, see Requesting short codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint SMS.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.

    • If you answered No, use a dedicated long code. For more information about requesting dedicated SMS long codes, see Requesting dedicated long codes for SMS messaging with Amazon Pinpoint SMS.

      Note

      If both dedicated short codes and dedicated long codes are available in the destination country, you should use a dedicated short code. Mobile carriers are more likely to block or limit the messages that are sent from long codes if short codes are also available.

      If you want to determine what kind of origination number to use for another country, return to question 1. Otherwise, stop here.