Short Code Availability – US

US Short Codes – Compliance and Regulations

The CTIA – The Wireless Association publishes the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices and the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook (latest version 1.7) and the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook v1.7 Addendum, which govern all SMS campaigns promoted in the US market. This handbook has been reviewed and approved by all carriers. However, all carriers reserve the right to create their own addendums to address carrier specific requirements or to address emerging issues not currently covered by the handbook.

The following summaries are based on this handbook. Any additional carrier specific requirements will be noted in the relevant sections.

  • General Guiding Principles
    • Four principles provide the baseline for all the CTIA compliance requirements:
      • Display clear calls-to-action. All programs must display a clear call-to-action. Customers must be made aware of what exactly they are signing up to receive.
      • Offer clear opt-in mechanisms. Customers must consent clearly to opt into all recurring-messages programs. Requiring a customer to enter a mobile phone number does not constitute a compliant opt-in. Instead, customers must understand they will receive messages and consent to receive them.
      • Send opt-in confirmation messages. A confirmation message must be sent to customers always. For recurring-messages programs, confirmation messages must include clear opt-out instructions.
      • Acknowledge opt-out requests. Short Code service providers must acknowledge and act on all opt-out requests. Monitoring procedures confirm successful opt-out.
    • Advertising Principles
      • All advertisements for SMS campaigns must clearly and conspicuously convey the identification and nature of the program before a user signs up to a program.
      • Advertisements or Calls to Action are separated into two separate categories:
        • One-Time or Single (Transactional) Message program – only one message sent to the handset.
        • Recurring (or Subscription) Messages program – multiple messages sent to the handset.
      • Advertising Requirements
        • All advertisements must display at the minimum the following components:
        • A call to action where the identification and nature of the program is clearly and conspicuously displayed. For Recurring Messages programs, a disclosure of recurrence or frequency of messages (i.e. ‘daily alerts’, ‘recurring messages’, ‘up to 5 messages per week’, etc.) must be displayed. For example:
          • KABC weather alerts – Text JOIN to get daily mobile text alerts
          • CVS: text NOW to get a 50% off coupon to your handset
        • Additional charges disclosure:
          • Message and Data Rates May Apply
        • A clearly labeled hyperlink or address to access a privacy policy, for example:
          • Click here for[Online]
          • For Privacy Policy, go to abcmobile.com/privacy [Print]
        • A clearly labeled hyperlink or address to access the full terms and conditions, for example:
          • Click here for [Online]
          • For Full Terms and Conditions, go to abcmobile.com/terms[Print]
        • Advertising Full Terms and Conditions
          • Full terms and conditions may appear beneath the call-to-action or be accessible via a URL address. They may also be accessible via a hyperlink or a pop-up that appears near the call-to-action.
          • One-Time Message program Full T&Cs requirements: Example: https://www.intelepeer.com/terms/intelepeer-alerts/
            • Program name and product description.
            • Customer care contact information: email and/or toll-free number
            • Additional charges disclosure: “Message and data rates may apply”
            • List of supported carriers e.g. “Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, Boost, Virgin Mobile USA, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS”
            • [T-Mobile requirement]: “T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages”
            • A clearly labeled hyperlink to a Privacy Policy. Example: https://www.intelepeer.com/privacy/intelepeer-privacy-policy/
          • Recurring Messages program Full T&Cs requirements: Example: https://www.intelepeer.com/terms/intelepeer-alerts/
            • Program name and product description
            • Message frequency or recurring message disclosure
            • Customer care contact information: email and/or toll-free number
            • Additional charges disclosure: “Message and data rates may apply”
            • List of supported carriers e.g. “Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, Boost, Virgin Mobile USA, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS”
            • [T-Mobile requirement]: “T-Mobile is not liable for delayed or undelivered messages”
            • A clearly labeled hyperlink to a Privacy Policy. Example: https://www.intelepeer.com/privacy/intelepeer-privacy-policy/
          • Messaging Requirements
            • The messaging aspect of an SMS campaign is also categorized according to the campaign type:
              • One-Time Message program – only one message sent to the handset.
              • Recurring (or Subscription) Messages program – multiple messages sent to the handset
            • One-Time Message programs requirements are the simplest since there is only one message sent to the handset in a typical interaction.
            • Recurring Messages programs requirements are more involved because multiple messages are sent to the handset in a typical interaction.
            • One-Time and Recurring: the program name and/or description must be consistent throughout the message flow and must match the associated advertising.
          • One-Time Message Program Requirements
            • The messaging requirements for One-Time programs are minimal due to the fact that only one message is sent to the handset during a normal interaction.
            • Confirmation Message requirement:
              • Program name and/or description. Example:ZFurniture: show this message to the cashier to get a 20% discount!
            • Recurring-Messages Program Requirements
              • The messaging requirements for recurring messages programs are more robust due to the fact that multiple messages are sent to the handset.
              • Confirmation Message requirements:
                • Program name and product description
                • Message frequency or recurring messages disclosure.
                • “Message and data rates may apply” disclosure.
                • Opt-out information.
                • Customer care contact information. Example:ABC Mobile: welcome to daily weather alerts Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. Msg&data rates may apply

 

  • Monthly Subscription Reminder for Recurring Messages Program
    • Due to the recurring nature of Recurring Messages programs, a reminder of subscription must be sent to an opted-in user at least once per month. This reminder may be displayed inside either a content message or a separate service message.
    • Monthly Reminder Message requirements – Separate Message or Content Message:
      • Program name or product description.
      • Opt-out information.
      • Customer care contact information.
        Example – Monthly Service MessageABC Mobile: daily weather alerts. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for support. For more, go to abcmobile.com/terms
        Example – Content Message:ABC Mobile: 90% chance of heavy rain today. Don’t forget your umbrella! Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for support
    • HELP Message Requirements for both One-Time and Recurring
      • A “HELP” message must trigger a response message containing the program name and further information about how to contact the service provider.
      • For users subscribed to multiple programs, the “HELP” message can trigger a message response with a menu of keywords for help on specific programs.
      • HELP Message requirements:
        • Program name and description.
        • Additional customer care contact information.
          Example:ABC Mobile: daily weather alerts. Support: 888-899-8989 or go to abcmobile.com/terms
      • STOP Message Requirements for both One-Time and Recurring
        • A “STOP” message must trigger one final message confirming that the no further messages will be sent and opt the user out of receiving any further messages on that short code.
        • All programs must respond to keywords STOP, END, CANCEL, QUIT and UNSUBSCRIBE.
        • STOP message requirements:
          • Program name or product description.
          • Confirmation that no further messages will be delivered.
            Example:ABC Mobile: you have been unsubscribed. You will no longer receive any messages

Last Reviewed/Revised: November 2018

 

AT&T

ACS Wireless

Appalachian Wireless

Bluegrass

Boost

Breakaway Wireless

C-Spire

Cable Vision

Carolina West Wireless

Cellcom

CellOne Nation

Cellular One of AZ

Chariton Valley Wireless

Chat Mobility

ClearTalk Wireless

Copper Valley

Cricket Wireless

CTC Wireless

CTCI

DTC Wireless

Duet IP

ECIT (Cellular One of East

Central Illinois)