Saying Goodbye To Shared Short Codes and Hello to Toll Free Texting


CHanges in Carrier Rules for Short Codes

Is your business using text messages for marketing, engagement, or automation? Mobile carriers have recently cracked down on the most popular short code option, shared short codes, charging SMS service providers to move their customers to the superior number option: Dedicated Short Codes or Toll-Free. If your business is still using a shared short code, this article will help you understand the various number options available as shared short codes become obsolete.

What Are Short Codes?

A short code is a convenient 5 to 6 digit number that enables subscribers and users to text in a keyword to automatically opt-in to receive your messages. They are ideal for mass, one-way communication and are easy to remember and effective. There are two types of short codes, shared and dedicated. However, carriers are ending support for shared short codes in mid-2021.

The End of the Shared Short Code

Major mobile carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile have discontinued support for shared short codes because of their vulnerability to abuse. Because multiple businesses share a single short code, if one business is not compliant to the TCPA & CTIA rules, the entire shared code may be shut down. Because the short code is shared by multiple businesses, this potentially impacts thousands of users and businesses using that shared short code. Shared short codes also limit what keywords users can secure for their campaigns, because other users may choose a keyword first.

The First Alternative: Dedicated Short Codes

A dedicated short code, however, can only be used by a single marketer. The short code can be specifically chosen by the user, much like a custom license plate or vanity URL. Choosing to use a dedicated short code also means users can secure any keyword they want, since no other marketer can use that same short code.

Advantages of Dedicated Short Codes

Better Brand Recognition: A short code can be as recognizable to your customer as your twitter account or website address, just like a vanity URL or phone number.


You Choose Your Keywords: When you have a dedicated short code, you aren’t limited by other people already using your SMS mobile keyword, which gives you creative freedom to run your campaigns using your brand’s most recognizable product or service names.


You Control Your Message: When you have your own dedicated short code, you are in total control of how your messaging campaigns are seen by customers, so you can protect your brand. There is no confusion caused by shared short codes.


Better Security: If you work in an industry like financial services, healthcare, or the government, a dedicated short code will give you a higher degree of privacy and security. It also lets you enable two-factor authentication if you’d like to do so.


More Functionality: If you have a dedicated short code you can do things that shared short codes can’t do, like run a text-to-win campaign for your subscribers.

The NEwest Option: Toll-Free

Toll-Free numbers are 10-digit numbers that begin with the prefix 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. This new number gives users the presence and trust factor of a large, national company. Toll Free numbers have the power and flexibility of dedicated short codes, but at a fraction of the cost. Since shared short codes are being phased out, Toll-Free numbers are the best option for users who were using affordable shared short codes.


Toll-Free SMS provides that better user experience by allowing iZigg customers to engage in two-way communication for customer and team support, or sending out marketing messages and critical alerts. Toll-Free SMS lets users interact by text or phone from one easy to remember phone number. Toll-Free numbers work essentially the same as a dedicated short codes, with the ability to send mass messages and use advanced features, like automation.

Using Dedicated Short Codes & Toll Free Numbers

  • Bulk Messaging
  • Marketing Promotions
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Billing Information
  • Mobile Coupons
  • Alert Notifications
  • Weather & Traffic Updates
  • Security Notifications
  • Sweepstakes and Contests
  • Mobile Voting

Coming Soon: A2P Long Code

While wireless carriers and aggregators are moving to discontinue shared short codes, iZigg will continue to migrate our customers to toll-free 10-digit phone numbers provisioned to send mass messages for commercial purposes. A2P long codes, when they are released by carriers, will essentially work like dedicated short codes, including compatibility with all of iZigg’s features, but will cost essentially the same as inexpensive but retired shared short codes.


Whether you decide to use a dedicated short code, a Toll-Free number, or a long code for texting for your business, sending SMS messages is the most effective way of developing strong relationships with your customers. Looking for a texting provider that can help you find the right number option? Click here to talk to one of our experts today!


Knowing When to Use SMS vs MMS​

There are so many differences between SMS and MMS, especially when you are using iZigg Mobile messaging. Learn about their unique differences and advantages through this article!

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