Short code registration: How to get a short code to text from your business

Dedicated short codes are a good solution for businesses with a flexible budget and a preference for mass texts. Learn how to register one along with price, functionality, and more.

If you’re a business owner looking to choose a new number to text from, you’ve likely come across the term “short code registration” in your search.

Dedicated short codes are ideal for mature businesses that want an easy way to build their text lists and send bulk messages. That said, they do differ from phone numbers you may have used to text before.

Luckily, I’m a text marketing veteran, and I’ve personally written about SMS short code registration dozens of times. I’ll walk you through the process of registering a dedicated short code (DSC) and answer some of the biggest questions around how it works.

⚠️ This advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.

What is SMS short code registration?

SMS short code registration is the process of setting up and leasing a 5- or 6-digit number from the Short Code Registry via iconectiv.

Note that I said “lease” rather than “own.” That’s important, and I’ll get into it shortly. But first, why would you want a short code instead of a local or toll-free number?

3 benefits of short codes:

  • They’re easier for your customers to remember (and trust when you message them).
  • They often have a higher throughput than other number types. 
  • Short codes are a good fit for large organizations or those that want to scale their texting.

What can you send with a short code?

  • SMS (text messages under 160 characters)
  • MMS (texts with media files and/or up to 1,600 characters)
  • Bulk text messages

If a short code isn’t what you’re looking for, we can help you get a toll-free number or local number.

Types of short codes 

When choosing your short code, you have two options: Random or vanity short codes

Random short codes

This is exactly what it says on the tin: a short code generated at random. 

The biggest differentiator between random and vanity short codes is that random codes are the less expensive option starting at $1,000/month

Vanity short codes

Vanity short codes, on the other hand, are short codes you can customize to fit your business. For example, if you run a dance studio, you might choose 32623 (which spells DANCE). 

These are the more expensive short code type, with pricing starting at $1,500/month. 

How DSC number registration works

Setting up a new business texting number can seem intimidating (especially if you’ve never done it before), but the process is simpler than you’d think. The first part comes down to two steps.

Note: After you start your trial of SimpleTexting, the short code registration process begins with you contacting our customer care team. Simply click the chat icon in the application to start the conversation, and an expert will help you start the process.

  1. Choose your number from the Short Code Registry. This is where you’ll decide which type of short code you want and pick your specific number. 
  2. Submit your application. I won’t lie to you — the application is long and pretty thorough. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team has helped thousands of businesses through DSC number registration and we’re happy to guide you.

What to expect after your SMS short code registration

After you submit your short code registration application, if it’s approved, you’ll provision your code next. It can take 6-8 weeks for the CTIA and carriers to approve your application.

You’ll need an SMS aggregator to connect your new short code and SimpleTexting can play that role for you. 

We’ll communicate with the wireless carriers on your behalf and then we’ll submit a joint application together that spells out how you’ll advertise your short code to potential subscribers and the types of messages you’ll send.

Once that application is approved, you’ll be ready to start texting.

Common short code registration questions

How do I register a short code?

You can register a short code by choosing a number, submitting an application, and working with a provider to provision your short code.
Yes, short codes need to be registered. This helps cut down on spam and makes sure your subscribers trust the messages you send them.
The cost of a dedicated short code depends on the type of short code you choose. A random short code starts at $1,000/month and a vanity short code starts at $1,500/month with a one-time setup fee of $2,500. With SimpleTexting, you’ll pay these fees annually.
It takes between six and eight weeks to register a short code with SimpleTexting.

Key takeaways

  • You can choose between a random and a vanity short code for your individual number based on your budget and how memorable you’d like it to be.
  • You’ll need to lease your short code. That means filling out an application and working with a provider like SimpleTexting to provision your code.
  • The short code registration process will take between six and eight weeks.

⚠️ This advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.