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Basic Code Information

Your messaging application must use sender IDs to deliver SMS. Sender IDs are the numbers or letters that appear as the ‘from address’ (i.e. a mobile number or company name) for text messages. Aerialink supports five basic types of Sender IDs.

Choosing a Code

What type of sending number should I use based on my traffic type?
This key question must be answered before a prospective mobile program can become reality. Check out the table below for a helpful guide on using your use-case to determine the best sender ID for you.

Quick Code Type Comparison

Long Code8XX (Toll-Free)Short Code
Best forConversationalNon-marketing BusinessAll; bulk sends
Carrier ReachWorldwideMost +1 DestinationsSingle-Country
Send Rate1msg/2secUp to 20msg/secUp to 40msg/sec
Inbound Voice CallsYYN
Inbound to Outbound Ratio1:11:many1:many
Use-Case ApprovalSame-DaySame-Day8-12 weeks
Short Links OKNY*Y
Carrier Block RiskMediumLow**Lowest
Vcard SupportYNY

* Certain short URL TLDs are filtered as “bad.” If your URL contains one of the “bad” TLDs, this may cause your message to be blocked.
** Carrier blocking on 8XX numbers is largely dependent on use-case. Certain use-cases, such as payday loans or quick cash opportunities, will be blocked.

Code Provisioning Timelines

Below is an at-a-glance listing of provisioning times by code type. Please note that all times listed are business hours and do not include weekends or holiday - two days means two business days.

For all BYON types below, please provide or have available an LOA in case of registry conflict.

Number TypeAcquisition Typevia Platform Portalvia Provisioning APIvia Support RequestComents
Standard Long Code (DID)Aerialink-leased15 min15 minEOD next dayNOTE: support request needed for Canadian long codes.
Standard Long Code (DID)BYONN/A15 minEOD next day*Registry conflict may extend the provisioning timeline.
8XX (Toll-Free) NumberAerialink-leasedN/AEOD next dayEOD next day
8XX (Toll-Free) NumberBYONN/A15 min or 2 days**< 2 days.*RespOrgs which do not respond within 2 business days time out requests, allowing us to move forward with enablement. However, keep in mind that number registry conflicts may extend the timeline further.

* For qualified Service Providers only.
** The number must be preapproved by the existing RespOrg, else the registry process will take up to two (2) business days.

A Number’s A Number

Aerialink’s policy is that a number is a number - as far as we’re concerned, you can use whatever number type you like! Simply bear in mind the chart above as well as the following:

  • Carriers will throttle or impose restrictions depending on traffic type
  • With P2P numbers, you don’t need an opt-in
  • With A2P traffic, you do need an opt-in
  • Regardless of whether a defined opt-in is required for the traffic type, there should be a pre-existing business or personal relationship between the sender and receiver of the messages.

Standard Long Codes

Long codes are fixed numbers enabled for two-way messaging. The number of digits in a long code varies from country-to-country but the formula for their length is concrete: each number is made of a base four-to-ten digits onto which the country code is added. While many carriers worldwide recognize numbers without country code within their own borders, its inclusion is necessary when sending messages worldwide.

The North American Numbering Plan, or “NANP,” refers to the telephone numbering scheme used for public-switched telecommunications networks to route calls and messages to subscribers. The NANP format is a 10-digit number that consists of a 3-digit NPA code (commonly referred to as the “area code”), followed by a 3-digit NXX code (also referred to as the Central Office (CO) code) and a 4-digit line number.” NXX Assignments and Activations: NXXs are assigned within geographic NPAs. When Aerialink activates your long code, there are different network configuration options, such as forwarding an inbound call to either a SIP address or a telephone number
(not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and a few other small pockets of domestic U.S.). Please provide any special forwarding requirements in your LC request.

  • Traffic Types: Conversational, All*
  • Used For: Non-bulk 2-way messaging
  • Certification: May be required if Aerialink isn’t carrier pre-approved for a specified use case.
  • Acquisition: Aerialink customers can order and assign long codes via the Platform Management Portal.
  • Reach: A long code’s reach varies based on platform/network capabilities, routes, service providers and registered country codes.
  • Direction: 2-way
  • Country Code: Required
  • Voice: Can be enabled on some long codes.

*Not available in North America

Long Codes vs Short Codes

U.S. long codes have fewer costs, quicker setup and come with less regulatory overhead than U.S. short codes. However, they are limited to 1 message per second, so simultaneous communication with multiple end-users requires multiple long codes. U.S. long codes don’t reliably support delivery receipts, so you won’t always know for sure if your message has been received unless the end-user responds. U.S. long-code programs aren’t officially registered and therefore may be subject to immediate termination in the event of an issue (such as a customer complaint).

U.S. long codes can only be used for non-marketing use cases, but are an efficient and cost-effective option for many use cases, like operational efficiency and customer experience. Aerialink’s enterprise customers are using long codes to mobilize processes for operations and service support, human resources and corporate communications.

Long-Code Regionality

  • If you are registered with a local long-code number you are configured to send domestic messages.
  • Long-code numbers are the only code/number type which can reliably interact with/send to Google Voice.
  • Long codes are not restricted to sending messages to numbers located only within their local country (as short codes are). However, international rules and regulations may consider high-volume texting from U.S. or Canadian numbers to be spam and therefore block it. For high-volume messaging in a country other than the U.S. or Canada, Aerialink offers international A2P connections.

“International” Long Codes

International long codes are registered with a specific country code for localized delivery and many have coverage limited to the carriers in that same country. In most cases, end-user devices/plans will not be charged international texting fees when sending messages to codes localized to the same country as their own number. Some long codes have reach beyond their country boundaries, supporting international delivery. Please note that international long codes are named not because of their destination coverage, but because of our wide variety of international country-coded originating numbers.

Bring-Your-Own Numbers

Aerialink can text-enable most existing North American non-wireless voice telephone numbers to support SMS service.

  • Traffic Types: See applicable number type*
  • Used For: See applicable number type*
  • Certification: No carrier certification required. Aerialink will review your use-case prior to implementation.
  • Requirements: Must provide Letter of Authorization to
  • Acquisition: Contact Aerialink about our monthly BYON service fee.
  • Reach: North America
  • Direction: 2-way
  • Country Code: Required
  • Voice: Enabled with your telephone service provider

*The traffic and usage capabilities of BYONs depend on whether it’s a long code or an 8XX number being text-enabled.

Text-Enablement Disclaimer

Aerialink can text-enable and run messaging traffic for landline numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately, in addition to wireless providers who do not allow their numbers to be text-enabled, there are some landline number providers who sell numbers to third parties but refuse to acknowledge subscriber choice under a Letter of Authorization which allows other service providers to run the messaging. This defies number portability best practices which allow the subscriber of a number to choose the provider for any of the services running on the number. Any numbers provided to Aerialink with a Letter of Authorization which were obtained directly from one of these aforementioned providers, or in which the provider has the underlying assignment for the number, may encounter traffic interruptions and routing issues for which Aerialink is not responsible. Aerialink customers may request an audit of their numbers to assess risk or may check individual numbers themselves at the following link:

Location-Neutral Numbers


8XX numbers are often referred to as “toll-free” and are easily recognized by their “area code” (NPA) which begins with an 8 and is followed by two numbers of the same value (800, 855, 877, et cetera). Please bear in mind that despite the common name, 8XX numbers are not, in fact, “toll free” in the case of SMS/MMS messaging. Message and data rates may apply according to a subscriber’s mobile plan.

  • Prefixes (NPAs): 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, 888
  • Number Type: Landline/Wireline
  • Traffic Types: Conversational, Service, Bulk
  • Used For: Non-marketing bulk or conversational 2-way messaging
  • Certification: May be required if Aerialink isn’t carrier pre-approved for specified use case.
  • Requirements: Letter of Authorization required. Fill out form online in the Aerialink Platform Management Portal.
  • Acquisition: Lease directly from Aerialink or ask about our monthly BYON service fee.
  • Supports: SMS, inbound voice to a forwarding number (if leased) or retention of existing voice carrier (if BYON). No porting required.
  • Reach: North America
  • Throughput: 1 message per second per number (see Bulk Delivery Carriers below for exceptions)
  • Direction: 2-way
  • Country Code: Required
  • MMS: Now available!
  • Voice: Enabled with your telephone service provider

Bulk Delivery Carriers

The following carriers permit throughput via 8XX of up to 20 messages per second per number:

Bluegrass Cellular
Boost Mobile
C Spire Wireless
Carolina West
Copper Valley Wireless
Illinois Valley Cellular
Inland Cellular
James Valley Wireless
Limitless Wireless
Nex-Tech Wireless
Thumb Cellular
US Cellular
Virgin Mobile


End-User NumberEnd-User LocationCan the user send to/receive SMS from 8XX?
+1 Mobile Number with text planU.S. or CanadaO
+1 Mobile number with text planOther +1 Countries (Caribbean & U.S. Territories)Varies by home carrier plan. International texting charges may apply.
+1 Mobile Number with text planRoaming on mobile network outside of +1 carriersVaries by home carrier plan. International texting charges may apply.
+1 Landline number with text planU.S. or CanadaO
+1 Landline number with text planOther +1 Countries (Caribbean & U.S. Territories)O
Non-+1 numberAnywhereX

Are end-users charged for messages sent to +1 “toll-free” numbers?

While voice calls to 1-8XX numbers are free to the caller, end-users sending text messages to 1-8XX numbers will be charged according to their mobile plan. Subscribers who pay monthly for unlimited two-way SMS will not be charged extra for texting a toll-free number, but subscribers with prepaid plans may be charged per text to send and to receive.

Toll-Free (8XX) Registry

All toll-free (8XX) numbers are published to a registry, which provides a central data repository for text-enabled 8XX Numbers. For information about fees and pricing structure, review the 8XX Registry Fees article.

Short Codes

Short codes are fixed registered numbers five-to-six numeric digits in length. The U.S. Common Short Code Administration leases codes in the numerical range of 20000 to 999999, reserving the 10000 to 19999 range for private use. Canadian short codes lease from 10000 to 999999 with the exception of ranges 16000-17999 and 40000 to 49999, which are reserved for private use.

  • Traffic Types: All
  • Used For: Most use-cases acceptable (common: bulk, alerts, reminders, surveys)
  • Certification: Carrier certification required
  • Acquisition: Lease through Aerialink via country-specific governing body
  • Reach: Limited to the country in which the code is certified
  • Direction: 2-way
  • Country Code: Not required
  • Voice: Not supported

Short Codes vs Long Codes

Because U.S. short code programs are approved and registered, operators follow due process to investigate any issues instead of immediately terminating the code as they do with long codes. Short codes are more expensive and do take more time to get live with carriers, but advertisements, coupons, information about sales, or other promotional messaging sent to U.S. subscribers must be sent via U.S. short code.

Short Code Regionality

Short codes are country-specific - they operate only within the country in which they are registered, and can send only to numbers also registered within their country. To reach users in Canada, you must use a Canadian short-code. That same Canadian short code cannot be used to send messages to users in the United States. While it may be possible to use your U.S. short code to send to a U.S. destination number who is out of the country, that delivery cannot be guaranteed. Also, be aware that not all short codes can interact successfully with Google Voice.

Dedicated Short Codes

Dedicated short codes are leased for exclusive use by a single company or brand who takes sole responsibility for the short code’s associated setup costs and fees. The brand leasing a dedicated code must go through the full carrier certification process prior to launching their mobile campaign.

Alphanumeric Sender IDs

Alphnumeric Sender IDs can be up to eight or eleven characters in length (depending on country) and can consist of any combination of letters or numbers ranging from A-to-Z in both capital and lower-case, as well as numbers zero-through-nine and the underscore character.

Sender ID customization capabilities are useful for message branding by setting the Sender ID as a company’s name or to the name of a campaign or product.

Aerialink customers can receive custom alphanumeric IDs once they have been approved by our provisioning team.*

  • Traffic Types: All
  • Used For: Most use-cases acceptable (common: bulk, alerts, reminders, surveys)
  • Certification: Some carriers/countries allow network white-listing of Alpha IDs to ensure delivery.
  • Acquisition: No lease required
  • Reach: Global* (Non-+1 destinations)
  • Direction: 1-way (outbound only)**
  • Country Code: Not required**
  • Voice: Not Supported

*The Sender ID feature only applies to network operators who support this feature. Custom Sender IDs will be rejected for messages bound for the U.S. and Canada due to carrier regulations. CDMA-based network operators do not support alpha characters.

**If the Sender ID is set to a long-code fixed numeric ID, inbound messaging can be supported in most cases. In this case, the country code is required.

Alphanumeric Regionality

Content restrictions vary by country. Alphanumeric IDs are not supported on carriers in the United States and Canada. While GSM networks in these countries are capable of allowing for Alpha IDs, they are presently against carrier regulations. Delivery Receipts are available in most markets. Outbound SMS when sent via class 5 traffic supports international one-way messaging in bulk, and allows for reduced latency.

Maintaining Compliance

Although using an Alphanumeric Sender ID is acceptable outside of North America, its ability to be altered and its inability to be responded to or traced by end-users makes it a prime target for carrier spam filters. The best way to mitigate the risks related to these sender IDs is to be compliant in all message content and to set your ID to something conspicuous of your company or the purpose of the program. That way, the end user always knows exactly what the message is about and who it is coming from.

This page was last updated 1567016119934