AT&T Terminates Shared Short Codes

AT&T recently announced that effective immediately, no new short code programs will be activated.  Once AT&T launches its “10DLC” or 10 digit long code solution in the near future, it will also cut support for existing shared short code programs.  The timeline is not yet clear, but AT&T indicated that it would give “appropriate advance notice” for these changes.

True to its name, a shared short code enables businesses to limit cost of mass messaging programs by sharing a short code with multiple businesses.  The other option, a dedicated short code, is uniquely assigned to a single company.  There is speculation that AT&T’s decision may be motivated by the prevalence of spam messages (e.g. it is much easier for a bad actor to hide from carrier oversight using a shared short code).

As with other mobile trends, other carriers will likely follow AT&T’s path.  How a company should respond will depend on its size and the type and volume of messages it sends, among many other factors.  Companies that use shared short codes on a mass scale should start to anticipate the costs and processes of moving to a dedicated short code.  Smaller companies may struggle with that option and can consider whether a long code would be a viable option.  “10DLC” may provide another alternative in the future.  Expect more movement in this area and stay tuned to additional announcements from AT&T (or other carriers).