Over the last year, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have made sweeping changes to the way SMS/MMS deliverability works on their networks and have dramatically increased both the costs of SMS delivery and the complexity in delivering those messages to consumers. These changes have become known to the industry as A2P 10DLC SMS or Application-To-Person Ten-Digit Long Code. All of this is intended to protect end users from SMS becoming the next major source of spam, and to prevent harsh FCC requirements around spam prevention with SMS/MMS. This fear was well described in this article featured recently in The Intercept.
SMS Registration is the process by which you can register your phone numbers with the Wireless Carriers in order to prevent them from being blocked. These changes have been happening over the last year, and we provide detail on them here. This guide explains how you can register your phone numbers so they are not blocked by the wireless carriers.
We do not support Spam
Skyetel has strict quality standards for any outbound SMS/MMS originated from our network. We have built our SMS Registration with that in mind, and restrict the kind of SMS/MMS you may send from our network.
Who needs to do this
Everyone using US local phone numbers to send/receive SMS or MMS. You can avoid this by using Canadian phone numbers or Toll Free numbers.
How much does this cost?
A lot. It's absurd.
There are two fees - a monthly fee and a one-time fee. These charges are charged by the Campaign Registry, and we agree that they are ridiculously high. Unfortunately these fees are unavoidable :(.
You can see the SMS Registration fees here: https://login.skyetel.com/#billing/rates.
These fees have been set by the wireless carriers through The Campaign Registry and are collected by us to remit to them.
SMS Registration Violations
There are a few circumstances where you may be fined a substantial amount of money should you violate the 10DLC SMS Registration requirements.
- SMS Registration Evasion - $1,000 per sent message
- This applies if you attempt to buy multiple numbers for SMS delivery, only to swap them out when one gets flagged as spam.
- Text Enablement Evasion - $10,000 per sent message
- This applies if you send messages before your registration is complete
- Content Violation - $10,000 per sent message
- This applies if you send messages that contain content that violates our content policy.
Skyetel has never received one of these fines, and understand them to be extremely rare. So long as you are registering your numbers, sending G-rated and non-spammy content, you should not expect to ever see these fines.
Opt-In, Opt-Out, and HELP
We know that most platforms do not have mechanisms to support requirements around Opt-Out and Help, and decided to build in native support for our customers and offer it for free. We do not want our customers to get in hot water over their use of SMS - so these features are included with SMS Registration for free :)
When you send an outbound SMS or MMS to a consumer, you must have crystal clear permission from them that you are allowed to text them. This Opt-In must be in writing, and be in place prior to sending them their first message. You may not ask for permission to text a consumer by sending them a SMS message.
When a consumer replies to a message sent from any Skyetel DID that says "STOP" we automatically block your ability to send additional SMSs or MMSs to the consumer. The recipient will also receive a confirmation that identifies your Tenant in their reply. For example, if a recipient replies "STOP" they will receive the following reply:
"You will no longer receive messages from [Tenant Name]. Please reply HELP to learn more, or RESUME to remove this block"
When a recipient replies to your SMS with "HELP," We will automatically reply with the following:
"You are receiving this message from [Tenant Name]. We can be reached at [Number] or [email]. Reply “STOP” and we will never text you again."
Registering Your Numbers
SMS Registration is done by Tenant, and is done from the Tenants page:
In order to register a Tenant for SMS, you will need directly identifiable information related to that Tenant so that they may be vetted by The Campaign Registry (the third party responsible for vetting SMS for the wireless carriers). 95% of the time, vetting is done instantly, and you can start sending registered messages within a few minutes of completing a registration.
Once your Tenant is registered, all phone numbers that have SMS enabled and are associated with that Tenant will have their phone numbers automatically registered. Please note, Skyetel only supports a maximum of 50 SMS enabled phone numbers per Tenant. It is not possible to increase this limit.
Step 1 - Gather Tenant Information
You will need to have the following information related to your Tenant in order to register your phone numbers:
- Legal Company Name
- DBA (if any)
- Company Type
- EIN Issuing Country
- Vertical (Professional, Real Estate, Legal, Financial, etc)
- Contact Email for the Tenant
- Support Contact Phone Number
Step 2 - Verify Current Address
You will be required to provide an address used especially for SMS. This information will automatically be imported from the main Tenant Address. Please make sure you verify that address is correct prior to submitting a registration request. Incorrect information may result in a huge fine levied by the wireless carriers.
Step 3 - Define Your Use Case
This is the most important step of SMS Registration. There are two categories of information you will need to provide:
- Content Attributes
- Use Case
These cases are defined as follows.
A content attributes defines the kind of interaction the content of your message contains. Specifically, you will need to specify whether your messages contain any of the following:
- Embedded Links
- Embedded Phone Numbers
- Affiliate Marketing (see note 2 below)
- Age-Gated Content (see note 2 below)
- Direct Lending/Loan Arrangements (see note 2 below)
- Subscriber Opt-in (you must have this prior to sending SMS to consumers)
- Subscriber Opt-out (Skyetel does this for you - see above)
- Subscriber Help (Skyetel does this for you - see above)
There are a few important things to note about Content Attributes:
- Skyetel automatically handles Subscriber Opt-out and Subscriber Help on all messages. This means that someone replies with "Stop" or "Help" to a SMS/MMS you send, Skyetel will respond on your behalf. For example, "Stop" will blacklist the destination number from being able to receive future SMS/MMS.
- Skyetel does not allow Affiliate Marketing, Age-Gated Content or Direct Lending/Loan Arrangements without prior approval. This policy is to protect our network from being used for Spam. If you need support for these Content Attributes, please contact your account manager. Don't worry - because these attributes are restricted, you will not see them in the drop down.
- Embedded Links must not use a public URL shortener. Doing so will cause your numbers to be blocked permanently from sending outbound SMS. We recommend using rebrandly for a custom URL shortener that is compliant with SMS Registration requirements.
A Use Case is the most important part of SMS Registration. Specifically, a use case answers the question "why are you sending these messages?" You will need to select at least 2 intended use cases, but no more than 5. We recommend you use as many use cases as possible so that you do not have to delete and create a registration later (and get hit with the fees again).
Skyetel supports the following use cases:
- Account Notifications
- Customer Care
- Delivery Notifications
- Fraud Alerts
- Higher Education
- Public Service Announcements
- Security Alerts
In order to protect our network from being used for spam, we do not currently allow sending messages with the following use cases:
- Polling & Voting
All Use Cases will need an example message as part of the registration. For example, if you are only using SMS Registration for Customer Care, a good example message should look like this:
"Hi Susan, Joe from Awesome Company here to make sure you got your shipment. Did it arrive as expected?"
If you are sending Account Notifications, a good example of that would be this:
"Jack - your account is past due. Please contact us at [number] as soon as possible."
If you are sending Public Service Announcements, a good example would be:
"April 11 - Snow Day for Vancouver Public Schools. No Attendance is required"
Step 4 - Verifying Approval
When your registration is approved, you will see this status:
If your Registration is ever revoked, don't worry. We will automatically remove the registration, stop you from being able from sending messages, and contact you with next steps.
This information, like all information you provide Skyetel, is kept strictly confidential and is never sold or given to third parties unless compelled to by a court order. This information is submitted to the Campaign Registry so that they may understand your use case and register your phone numbers.
When a recipient of one of your SMS or MMS receives a message, they will receive Tenant identifying information and contact information as part of the Opt-Out and Help features.