Toll-Free Business Texting

by | Apr 16, 2021

Inphonite has been closely following the technical trends and rules that have been coming for some time now. Without getting too into the technical jargon, we want to share how the FCC, CTIA and Telecom carriers are working hard to limit inauthentic robotexting.  

To help eliminate those pesky 3AM texts claiming you won big, Telecom carriers plan to make it cost more and be more technologically difficult to setup and use any old phone number to text from. Unfortunately, if you are a business or medical practice that currently uses this method for legitimate customer relations, there will be a need for change.

We know that these messages are important to your business and that is why we will continue to stay on top of these changes, and shift with the needs of our customers as well as telecom in general.  

We have done the research and have determined that the best thing we can do for our customers is to use toll-free numbers for text messaging. This will keep pricing affordable while combatting the current predicament. Therefore, we will be upgrading all of our customers to a dedicated toll-free phone number for their texting needs beginning May 1, 2020.

Customers that are currently using a SMS texting enabled business phone numbers to send texts from will notbe affected.  

If you are wondering how we stack up, we can tell you that many of our competitors use a shared short code instead of a dedicated 10-digit local phone or toll-free number. Unfortunately, the CTIA is now prohibiting the use of short code sharing between business entities for nearly all use cases. Inphonite has always believed in using a dedicated number for every one of our customers and we will continue to do so as the SMS landscape evolves.  

As an authentic provider for these services, we are committed to continually adapt with the times, rules, and pricing coming our way in the best way for each and every customer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why are you switching to toll-free numbers? 

Toll-free numbers give your business the ability to send SMS text and MMS picture messages with higher deliverability rates and less spam blocking then traditional 10-digit local numbers. Your customers will still be able to reply to confirm appointment reminders and text directly with your staff using Art of Chat. When using toll-free numbers, the major telephone carriers are currently not charging additional per message fees or requiring campaign registration. Switching to toll-free numbers is a win-win for everyone, you get higher deliverability, avoid the need to register your campaign, and help us keep everyone’s costs down. 

I do not want to switch to a toll-free number, can I keep my existing number? 

Yes, any existing customer that wants to keep their local 10-digit number may do so at no additional cost. Please contact support(at)inphonite.com before April 29, 2021 with your request to keep your existing numbers. There may be carrier imposed onetime and monthly campaign registration fees in the future. 

I want to SMS Enable my local 10-digit number, can I still do that? 

Yes, this is still allowed however there is now an additional fee to enable this feature. There may be carrier imposed onetime and monthly campaign registration fees in the future. 

I want to SMS Enable my toll-free number, can I still do that? 

Yes! Contact sales(at)inphonite.com for more information. 

What is campaign registration? Will I need to register? How much will it cost? 

Campaign registration associates your 10-digit local phone number with your business identity. You will also need to specify what type of messages you are delivering as well as provide sample messages so the carriers know what the traffic will look like. You will likely need to register in the coming months, otherwise you risk lower deliverability rates and more spam filtering by the telephone companies. Except for T-Mobile, the exact cost has yet to be determined and will be different for every carrier. T-Mobile plans to charge a onetime fee of $50 per campaign. 

IMPORTANT: These charges only apply to 10-digit local numbers and do not apply to toll-free numbers. 

Will there be a campaign registration requirement for toll-free numbers? 

At this time, we have not heard of any plans by the telephone carriers. 

Can I use a short code instead of a 10-digit number local or toll-free number? 

Absolutely, however the requirements are rather rigorous. There is a $1,500 onetime application fee, plus a $3,000-$4,500 per quarter fee, and the application process takes 6-12 weeks. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at sales(at)inphonite.com

Why doesn’t Inphonite use a shared short code? 

Sharing a short code between multiple business entities is now prohibited by the CTIA. There is one exception to this rule for multifactor authentication messages (e.g., “Use the code 123456 to log in.”) All other message types are now restricted to a single business entity. The specific date of enforcement has not yet been announced; however, AT&T has announced they will begin enforcement starting June 1, 2021. 

Will I experience any downtime during the transition?

There will be no downtime. The update is currently scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2021 between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM Pacific. Customers of yours that receive a text message from the old local phone number before that time and reply to the message after the update may receive an error message. Text messages sent after the update will come from the new toll-free phone number. If you are concerned about this potential scenario, please contact our support department at support(at)inphonite.com to transition earlier to mitigate this potential issue.