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United States - Messaging Regulations

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2019 05:06AM UTC

General Information:

  • Handset delivery receipts supported
  • Encoding supported: GSM, UCS-2, and Latin-1
  • Concatenated (long) messages supported
  • Short Codes (Dedicated) supported
  • Message Length – 160 characters (GSM or Latin 1), 70 characters (USC-2)

Supported SenderID Types:

Alphanumeric                                                      NO          
Short Code YES
Local Long Code YES
International Long Code NO

Short Codes:

Example                                                       123456
Lead Time 8-12 weeks
One Time Passwords (OTP) YES
Alerts, Reminders, Notifications (ARN)*       YES
Marketing (MKT)* YES
Inbound SMS (2-way)* YES
Throughput Limit up to 30 mps
Canadian Reach No must buy CA short code
Regulatory Compliance CTIA and TCPA



* Only for Dedicated Short Codes

Long Codes:

Example                                                       15107654321
Lead Time 1 week
One Time Passwords (OTP) YES
Alerts, Reminders, Notifications (ARN) YES
Marketing (MKT) NO
Inbound SMS (2-way) YES
Throughput Limit  1 sms/sec/number
Canadian Reach YES
Regulatory Compliance Carrier filtering 


Content Restrictions:

High-Risk Financial Offers are banned on Shared Short Codes

  • Loan origination and matching
    • Payday loans
    • Short-term loans
    • Auto loans
    • Mortgage loans
    • Student loans
  • Debt consolidation and reduction
  • Investment opportunities
  • Credit repair programs
  • Tax relief programs
    • Work from home programs

Marketing traffic and high volume use cases should be sent via short code to ensure optimal delivery. Marketing content sent via long code will be shut down immediately due to Carrier filtering.

Content that are not permitted:

Content such as SHAFT (sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, tobacco), fraud, spam, phishing, and deceptive marketing are prohibited. Vaping or marijuana/cannabis or content relating to dispensaries falls under this prohibited content. Support of Programs that provide prohibited content is subject to immediate short code suspension or shut down.

Content no longer allowed:

Charitable Donations: AT&T will no longer accept the following: 

  • Any new SMS or MMS based campaign submissions that include any charitable donation element
  • Campaign Submissions that include donation capabilities by being directed to a website for credit card donations or other methods
  • Any “Text To Donate” campaign will remain allowed through contracted Charitable aggregators.
  • Campaign Submissions that include donation capabilities by being directed to a website for credit card donations or other methods, will not be approved.

Shared Short Code on AT&T:

  • No new shared short codes should be onboarded.
  • There are however, exceptions in which the following must be followed:​
    • SMS must be sent from a single message sender
    • Message content must be within the same vertical
    • Message type must remain the same
    • The customer/message sender must provide a list of all the brands the customer will be sending the message for.
  • Existing customers should adhere to "AT&T Update Regarding Shared Short Codes and SPAM" in which it mentions the following:​
    • Any SPAM that originates from a shared short code will result in the termination of that short code rather than temporary suspension
    • ​Because of the recent SPAM issues on legacy shared short codes, AT&T is evaluating the application of SPAM filters for shared short codes.
    • All content providers should increase their vigilance in monitoring shared short codes to help reduce this issue before it reaches the carrier.

Other Restrictions:

  • When opting in for calls and/or SMS, it is best practice to include check boxes in order to determine which service the end-user wishes to opt-in to. 
  • ​The sharing/renting/selling of the end user data or passing along of opt ins to third party affiliates for marketing purposes is not allowed. 


Maximum Message Length:

Encoding Used                      Single Message       Long Message     
GSM, Latin 1, and UCS-2 160 bytes 1,400 bytes


Dedicated Short Codes: Stop Feature Guide 

Download the attachment for TeleSign's STOP Feature Guide. Processing STOP is required for Recurring alerts use cases on Dedicated Phone Numbers.

SMS Compliance Best Practices: United States and Canada

Download the attachment for TeleSign's SMS Compliance Best Practices.
The TeleSign SMS Best Practices provide a high-level overview of industry guidelines in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to summarizing TeleSign’s SMS use case policy and requirements.

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