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Short Code Leasing

Holiday Certification Freeze

The lengthy certification process which shortcodes undergo is annually put on hold during specific windows of time which may differ from carrier to carrier. The holiday freeze dates for the current season can be found below. Please bear in mind that additional dates may be added as carriers announce their holiday freeze periods, so be sure to check back here again for updates nearer to the holiday season.

2021-2022 U.S. Holiday Freeze Timeline

U.S. Carriers will only be implementing a soft freeze, with only minimal provisioning at the following times:

CarrierNovember FreezeDecember Freeze
AT&TNovember 25th - November 29thDecember 24th - January 1st
T-MobileNovember 25th - November 26thDecember 24th - January 1st
VerizonNovember 26th - November 29thDecember 24th & December 31st

Additionally, note that while Verizon will be imparting no freeze, it is strongly recommended that all campaigns for 2019 review and approval be submitted on or before December 10th, 2019 to accommodate reduce carrier staffing for the holidays.

Canadian Freeze Timeline

Canadian carriers will be implementing a hard brownout during which new short code certifications, migrations and amendments will not occur. In order to obtain a 2021 provisioning date, all applications must be submitted prior to the deadline of October 28th, 2021, 1:00pm ET. Applications submitted prior to the October 28th deadline will be eligible for provisioning by participating carriers between November 22nd and December 14th, 2021.

Note that the CWTA continues to meet throughout the remainder of the year to review applications for provisioning following the brownout period, which will conclude January 10th, 2022 for Freedom and Rogers, January 11th, 2022 for TELUS and January 17th, 2022 for BCE (Bell).

U.S. Short Code Leasing

Common Short Codes (CSCs), are used to deliver SMS messages between a person and an application, and are the preferred channel in the United States by which brands connect with mobile users. A short code is a four-to-six-digit phone number appearing as the sender ID on a mobile device are four or six-digit numbers within the range of 2000 to 99999. All messages must be sent with the short code as the sender, even if no response is expected. The term “common” refers to the ability of a single short code to work across all major wireless carriers.

There are six main steps in establishing and launching a short code.

Short Code Application Terms

Each short code application (program brief) submitted by Aerialink on a customer’s behalf is subject to approval from the applicable mobile network operators (MNO). Aerialink has no control over an MNOs’ approval process for short codes and will bear no liability if a short code application is rejected by an MNO. Furthermore, if an MNO rejects a short code application, Aerialink has no obligation to refund any short code-related fees paid by our customer to Aerialink prior to such MNO’s rejection of the application.

Short codes are administered by the Short Code Registry (also known as the Common Short Code Administration or CSCA) who oversees the technical and operational aspects of CSC functions and maintains a single database of available, reserved, and registered short codes.

Short codes and services are subject to U.S. carrier approval, and therefore the CSCA fees paid for the initial lease of a short code are non-refundable regardless of whether any wireless carrier agrees to activate your CSC. In addition, businesses are required to keep their campaign(s) up to date. If a campaign is changed or added it needs to be resubmitted for review per carrier policy.

Step 2: Lease a Code

A CSC may be leased for three, six, or twelve- month terms. The leasing fees for “vanity” short codes are higher than those of “random” short codes. Vanity short codes can be very effective in helping consumers remember and use your short code. Many companies deploy several short codes to support a variety of services. Five and six-digit codes are leased in three-month blocks, while four-digit codes are leased for an entire year in advance.

If you prefer to select a code (the vanity option) you can go to http://www.usshortcodes.com/ to search for available short codes. For your convenience, this site also has a list of vanity words generated from available short codes. The initial leasing cost is the full amount for the duration of the registration period (lease period is a minimum of 3 months). The actual time to lease your code is relatively short and is accomplished within a couple of days.

As noted in Step 1, short codes and services are subject to U.S. carrier approval, and therefore the CSCA fees paid for the initial lease of a short code are non-refundable regardless of whether any wireless carrier agrees to activate your CSC.

Step 3: Define Your Program

In this step you must define the details of your campaign for downstream review by the Wireless Carriers and CTIA Monitoring team. At least one campaign per short code must describe its use case, campaign name, message flow, message content, and forecasted volumes among other details.

All submissions will include MMS certification unless MMS certification is explicitly declined. Note that certifying for MMS at the time of initial SMS certification comes at no additional cost. However, adding MMS later on does require additional certification charges. Reach out to your Aerialink Account Manager for more information.

For more information about required message content for short codes, see our Compliance section.

Note that “shared” short codes are no longer permissible in the United States. All short codes must be “dedicated” - meaning, they are used by one brand and one use case only.

Step 4: Submit an Application

Aerialink will submit your campaign application for review by the CSCA and the CTIA Monitoring Agent before sending your campaign information to all desired wireless carriers for review and provisioning on each of their networks.

Step 5: Test and Launch

During the weeks that your application is in review, you can be fine-tuning and testing your campaign through the Aerialink Gateway. Once approved and provisioned, the CSC will be live on U.S. carriers allowing you to launch a soft campaign (try it out with a subset of users), and then deploying the final full launch.

Step 6: Renew Your Code

At any time during the lease of your CSC, you may renew it. If a CSC is not renewed before the expiration date, it expires and is placed in a 30 day grace period and still may be renewed.

You can take advantage of Aerialink’s auto-renew option for the convenience and flexibility of extending the lease of your CSCs beyond the term expiration date via an automatic credit card payment. Your codes will be renewed for the same term as on your previous application for that code (3, 6, 12 months).

Five days prior to each code’s expiration date Aerialink will automatically charge your credit card on file.

If you do not want to auto-renew, Aerialink will contact you prior to the expiration date to see if you would like to extend the lease of your short code. The renew period is also a good time to update your application if any part of the application has changed.

Canadian Short Code Leasing

Certification is done after the short code is provisioned by the carriers and is submitted to the CWTA. Please note that this is relatively quick (assuming the program functions as submitted), and will not inhibit short code provisioning. The CWTA generally reviews short codes within 1-2 business days. Once approved, applications are submitted to the Canadian carriers during their weekly Tuesday meeting with CWTA. At that time, if carrier approval is granted, a letter of approval detailing the provisioning date(s) is published. This usually occurs ~30 days from the approval date.

International Short Code Leasing

See the table below for information about available international short codes and the details of obtaining them. Any field marked as “N/A” indicates that that type of code is not available at that Rate Type. If a Rate Type is not listed for a Country, then that country does not provide that Rate Type for short codes.

International Short & Long Code Availability