Toll free numbers which became available this year to US customers have been designed by carriers and authorities to replace the previous unregulated longcode market.
The idea of Toll Free numbers is to ensure that every sender is assigned a unique number so that they can be identified when sending A2P traffic. This means that if SPAM is being sent the messages can be traced to a specific number and therefore a specific source.
Longcodes are now no longer available and shared short codes are being phased out. In the US A2P messaging will only be conducted by either Toll Free numbers for low volume, transactional style messaging, or pre-approved short codes for high volume marketing messaging.
All SPAM compliance rules still apply with mandatory identification, permission to send, and unsubscribe functionality being required.
These limitations are not designed to penalise marketers - they are designed for the protection of the end recipient. If you are abiding by the guidelines you should not experience any interference in your SMS delivery, and you will also be contributing to the overall health of the A2P messaging industry.
Limitations of Toll Free Number usage
Carriers will block messages sent from your Toll Free Number should any of the following conditions be breached.
1. Your message was flagged as SPAM by the carrier
This is not to say that your message actually was SPAM. However, something in your message, or the way it was sent, raised a flag at a carrier and it was marked as SPAM and blocked. While the carriers mostly align on their guidelines for sending and receiving text messages (SMS and MMS), each carrier has their own guidelines for what they consider SPAM.
2. The message contained illicit content
Sending texts with illicit content, such as adult content, references to drugs, or anything referring to criminal activity, can get your messages blocked.
3. The message contained a risky shortened URL.
Some free URL shortening services, such as bit.ly or tiny.url, can be used to mask malicious or redirected URLs. As such, carriers will identify the use of free URL shortening services as high risk and block SMS traffic that contains them.
You can still use a URL shortening service, however, you will need to ensure that a custom domain is configured with your short URL, e.g. by using our custom vanity tracked link feature or bit.ly's custom domain feature.
4. The receiver has complained about this message type to the carrier
You might be following all the rules yet somebody has complained to their carrier about your message. Maybe they don’t remember signing up to receive texts, or perhaps they just decided they don’t want them anymore but don’t know how to opt out. Whatever the case may be, if the carriers receive complaints about your texts, they may stop delivering them.
If you have any queries at all or would like assistance in ensuring your messaging is abiding by the new regulations please don't hesitate to reach out to our Support team.
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