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Are You Prepared for Text Messaging Circa 2020?

2019 is shaping up to be a year of major change for text messaging. In addition to technology innovation, older products will be sunsetting, not to mention the seismic shifts in how business messaging is sold, used, and consumed. We like to think we’re undergoing a messaging revolution of sorts. We haven’t seen this much changing in the world of text messaging ever, and though the sheer amount may be overwhelming, it’ll be exciting to see what the messaging space looks like at year’s end. Most importantly, with these changes come the need for preparedness.
Major Changes
One of the main changes taking place this year is the sunsetting of shared short codes. Wireless carriers have started to announce that they’ll no longer be accepting new shared short codes and will begin to phase out existing ones throughout this year.
Why? Shared short codes have long been associated with spam, and bad actors can be difficult to track down when phone numbers are shared among business users. Businesses looking for alternatives before the phase-out have started turning to toll-free SMS and other application-to-person (A2P) channels, as using dedicated short codes may be cost-prohibitive.
The next significant shift in the messaging world is the introduction of carrier routes for 10-digit long code (10DLC) messaging traffic. Businesses have demanded a sanctioned route for sending high-volume A2P messaging traffic for years -- and carriers have listened! This introduction promises to bring about some exciting change for businesses that want to be able to send notifications, alerts, promotions, and more using their existing business phone numbers. Communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) providers are working to create APIs -- called Local A2P -- built on these carrier routes. These APIs will enable product owners and software developers to access these powerful new carrier routes from a single API call.
So what can you do to ensure your business is ready for this messaging revolution? Here are three quick tips:
  1. If you’re sending alerts, notifications, reminders, or anything that might be considered A2P messaging traffic, make sure you’re on a product that will be able to handle that traffic moving forward. Your best bets in 2019 are toll-free SMS or a dedicated short code.
  2. If you’re currently a short code user, work with your messaging provider to make sure it’s a dedicated short code just for your business instead of a shared short code. If you’re scared of the hefty monthly hosting cost of a dedicated short code, at just cents per month, alternative numbers like toll-free SMS or Local A2P may be a better fit for your business model.
  3. Keep your eyes and ears open as additional details and changes are announced. Things are shifting quickly out there!
That’s just a quick gist of what’s happening this year in the messaging space. It’s an avalanche of change, but promises to bring in a wave of excitement at the same time.