TellMyCell Mass Text Message Marketing

Guide: Shared & Dedicated Short Codes

And introduction to shared short codes and dedicated short codes by TellMyCell

An Introduction to Short Codes

Many of us become intimidated or overwhelmed by the term “short code” because of how technical and complicated it seems. On the contrary, short codes are easy to use and simple to understand. Most of us have used short codes without even realizing it. For example, American Idol asks audience members or viewers to text in their votes for their favorite idol singer. If you've ever done this, then you've used a short code! The short code is the number that you send a text to. In other words, the short code is like a contact (but without the name, and not as long as a phone number). All short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers.* Anyone with a mobile phone can send a text message to a short code to request information, join alert notification lists, vote in contests and much more.

You may have heard the term “Common Short Code” or CSC - this is the exact same thing as a short code. CSC’s are managed by the Common Short Code Administration. Short codes are monitored by Neustar, Inc. in conjunction with CTIA - The Wireless Association. The “common” denotes that the short code is accepted and recognized by all major wireless carriers.

Below we’ll discuss the details of a mobile marketing campaign powered by short codes. This will help you decide whether or not your organization should use a shared short code or a dedicated short code when you launch your first mobile marketing campaign.


Advanced InfoWireless carriers sometimes use three or four digit short codes for special services that are only available on their particular network. Three or four digit short codes are not common and they are not commercially available.


Short Code Powered Mobile Marketing Campaigns:

Short codes are extremely powerful and effective when used in mobile marketing campaigns because they start a conversation between the consumer and your organization instantaneously. Short codes allow the consumers to decide whether or not they want to initiate contact. When a consumer decides to text in, they are automatically added to your company’s contact database.


Shared Short Codes vs. Dedicated Short Codes:

Shared Short Codes: At TellMyCell we maintain the shared short code of 88202 - we allow all of our clients to utilize this short code to communicate with their customers. When a client signs up, they choose a keyword to be paired up with our shared short code (88202). Many of our plans include free keywords. You can register for free and set up your unique keyword in just a few minutes.

Dedicated Short Codes: Businesses or organizations that need increased customization choose to use dedicated short codes. A dedicated short code is your personal short code; no other business or service will have the same short code. There are two important things to consider before you commit to using a dedicated short code:

Getting Started with a Dedicated Short Code in 5 Quick Steps:

At TellMyCell we understand that just thinking about a dedicated short code can be daunting. We’re here to help you every step of the way through this process. To begin, we’d like to connect you with one of our dedicated specialists over the phone to make sure that this is the right route for your company. We’ve created 5 steps for you to follow when you are ready to get started using dedicated short codes with TellMyCell.

Decide If You Need A Dedicated Short Code
If you would like to use a vanity code you must ensure that it is not already being used by going to the website: Alternatively, we can check for you. Keep in mind that vanity codes cost $1000 per month, while random short codes are only $500 a month.

Lease Your Short Code
At TellMyCell, we will act as an intermediary between you and Neustar, Inc., advising you through the leasing process. Once your lease application is approved, you must pay Neustar for the first three months of your short code lease up front.

Complete Your Service Approval Form
This is a crucial step in obtaining your short code. We’ll work with you closely to make sure that your Service Approval Form (SAF) isn't rejected by any of the wireless carriers. Most wireless carriers spend 3 to 4 weeks reviewing your application. If for some reason your SAF is denied, an explanation with notes is provided so you can make the necessary changes and adjustments to your application for resubmission.

Provisioning and Testing
Once you’ve been accepted by all carriers, each carrier will provision the short code on their network for testing purposes. Testing usually takes 2 weeks, but some carriers have been known to spend 6 weeks testing.

Carrier approval and launch
This is the final phase before introducing your short code to the world! This is when your short code is certified with the various carriers.

At TellMyCell, we’ve successfully guided many firms through the process of provisioning their own dedicated short code, offering our knowledge and expertise. We will ensure that deadlines are met, applications are compliant, and that timing is kept to a minimum.


Ready to get started? Still have questions about leasing your own dedicated short code? Give us a call at (212) 255-7029