Are Your SMS Campaigns FCC and 10DLC Compliant?

By:  Brenton Milne - Consultant

Are Your SMS Campaigns FCC and 10DLC Compliant?

Short message service (SMS)—or text messaging—is one of the fastest-growing forms of communication for businesses globally. Because many customers prefer using text messages over other platforms, companies everywhere are centering their correspondence platforms around SMS. For businesses new to text messaging, it’s vital to understand compliance laws before diving headfirst into an SMS marketing campaign.

What Is SMS Compliance?

SMS compliance means adhering to the guidelines and/or laws established by organizations and legislatures that regulate text messaging. The procedures for how businesses can engage with consumers using SMS are complicated, with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) covering certain aspects and the newer 10DLC regulations covering others. Let’s review the differences.

Why Does SMS Compliance Matter?

The primary reason to stay SMS compliant is to follow the law. Additionally, compliance is good for your business. If your organization isn’t SMS compliant, you’re probably overloading existing or potential customers with unsolicited texts, meaning you could be driving them away.

More importantly, breaking SMS regulations could result in your organization facing hefty fines. Failure to comply can also result in message filtering and your carrier blocking your number.

How Is the FCC Involved?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the U.S. governing body that set forth the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the primary federal law ensuring that marketers follow specific calling and SMS guidelines. The TCPA outlaws any person or business from calling or texting someone’s mobile device using an autodialer or a prerecorded voice. The TCPA defines an autodialer as equipment that uses a random or sequential number generator to store and dial numbers.

The TCPA also covers the rules for having prior written consent before a marketer can send a text.

Back in 1991, this act covered landline telephone numbers and faxes — and yes, some still use fax machines today, although not many. Later, rule-makers added SMS and the Do Not Call List to the act.

The only exceptions to the law are during an emergency or when the caller has received prior consent. Prior consent means having the recipient agree to an opt-in clause for all text messages sent by your business. This consent can include electronic or digital signatures.

What Is the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking All About?

The FCC continues to explore potential text message regulations to block illegal messages and apply caller ID standards to SMS. Specifically, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in September 2022 that addresses text messaging similar to how it deals with robocalling. As a basis for the new FCC SMS regulations, the FCC indicates that consumers receive more illegal and unwanted text messages that jeopardize their privacy now than ever.

The new rule would require mobile carriers to block texts from unused, unallocated, invalid or do-not-originate (DNO) numbers. The NPRM also explores whether spoofing is a significant problem with text messaging.

What’s the difference between robocallers and A2P?

A robocall is a voice or text message dialed automatically by a computer, delivering prerecorded or templated messages to unsuspecting recipients, often in the millions per day. Scammers and spammers often send these messages to gain personal or financial information with ill intent.

Application-to-Person (A2P) messages are intentional SMS sent through a software application from a business to their customer. They offer an efficient and effective — not to mention an economical — way for organizations to send SMS without having to initiate them from a personal mobile number.

How Is 10DLC compliance different?

10DLC compliance is specific to one type of delivery number used to send A2P SMS. 10DLC refers to a 10-digit code that enables businesses to send SMS. A benefit of a 10DLC is that they are often local numbers and look like a standard U.S. 10-digit phone number, allowing customers to feel more comfortable receiving and responding to them. No one wants an SMS from their dentist coming from a different state.

As these numbers become more and more prevalent, U.S. carriers have had to become more aware of who’s using their networks. And, in trying to keep spammers from overloading them, they’ve set some new regulations in place, thus creating 10DLC compliance.

To become compliant, businesses must register their company information and associated messages they’ll be sending on their 10DLC with The Campaign Registry™ (TCR), which is the agency selected by the major U.S. carriers as the authority for business messaging via 10DLC.

These businesses and messages — or campaigns — are then assigned unique identifiers, allowing the carrier to know who’s sending them and their legitimacy and helping them determine the speed and quantity they’ll allow for that number.

To be 10DLC compliant, you also have to be FCC/TCPA compliant — they go hand in hand to ensure the health of the messaging ecosystem.

How Red Oxygen Can Help With 10DLC Registration

If all these guidelines and compliance laws sound challenging, there is an easy solution. Red Oxygen can eliminate the hassle by handling the 10DLC registration process for you and communicating with your carriers to ensure the successful delivery of your messages. Whether using the Red Oxygen API, Bulk SMS, Microsoft Office or Gmail to send SMS, Red Oxygen can help you stay SMS compliant, even as the regulations change.

Registering your business is only the first step in complying with 10DLC rules. You must send meaningful messages that align with your campaign and your intended recipients’ interests. If your messages appear as spam, your carrier could end up blocking them.

Contact the Experts at Red Oxygen Today

Red Oxygen is committed to handling all your SMS needs, regardless of your business or campaign type. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can help you navigate the rules associated with 10DLC and any other SMS challenges you face. Connect with us online today to learn more about our offerings and how they can benefit your organization.

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