Bandwidth tackles local SMS dilemma with launch of Local A2P Messaging

The FCC’s decision late last year to classify text messaging as an information service is having an impact on shared short codes.

That's what led in part to Bandwidth’s release of its Local A2P Messaging solution, which it describes as a first-of-its-kind API that allows businesses to send sanctioned high-volume SMS messaging using local phone numbers over newly created 10-digit long code (10DLC) SMS routes.

The launch comes as major U.S. wireless carriers are expected to begin to block shared short code SMS, which a lot of businesses—like big chains with many local branches—use to reach their customers. The carriers are trying to combat spam by blocking high volume commercial traffic on P2P routes and sunsetting support of shared short codes. Simultaneously, the wireless industry is introducing 10DLC carrier routes as a new A2P messaging alternative, offering businesses fast, cost-effective, localized messaging capabilities, according to Bandwidth, which has been working with the operators.

Bandwidth said that with its Local A2P Messaging API, businesses will be able to deliver SMS campaigns reliably and cost-effectively via 10DLC. B2B software platforms serving multiple enterprises, as well as chain businesses, that may have many local brick and mortar locations, can send out coupons, alerts, notifications, promotions, and more from their own local phone numbers—allowing instant replies or call-back ability to a specific store or business location, the company said.

“We’re pretty excited to be able to announce that in the coming weeks we’re bringing this into limited availability,” according to Brad Roldan, Bandwidth's vice president of Messaging.

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According to Courtney Munroe, GVP of Telecom Research at IDC, 10DLC offers many advantages over short code SMS, including personalized local marketing to allow companies to leverage their local brand recognition. “It will also facilitate voice enablement and could be more cost-effective than short codes. In addition, an important success factor for enterprises leveraging 10DLC will be choosing a quality service provider like Bandwidth, who can guarantee reliable and predictable service delivery,” Munroe said in a press release.

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If you’re not familiar with Bandwidth, that’s understandable. It’s been around for 20 years, but for the first 18 years, it kept a low profile, according to Noreen Allen, Bandwidth’s chief marketing officer. It went public in late 2017 when it started to elevate the profile. One of Bandwidth’s divisions is Republic Wireless, the MVNO known for targeting the Wi-Fi-first calling space.

But Bandwidth has a lot more going on. It’s classified as a CLEC in 49 states. It has a nationwide network for voice, messaging and 911. Over the top of that network, it has built a software layer that makes it very easy for folks to access the voice, messaging and 911 services via API, which makes it similar to Twilio. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Ring Central use Bandwidth’s API to embed voice, messaging and 911 access into software and application.

It’s a Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) company, but “we’re kind of CPaaS on steroids because we also own the underlying network,” Allen told FierceWirelessTech. A lot of companies, big and small, come to Bandwidth for its services when they’re looking for a modern carrier that gives them access to those traditional telecom services but move at software speed.

“We’ve made it really easy to access all those different services,” and the enterprise communications space is a big one for Bandwidth, Allen said. A lot of consumer on-demand apps, like Reserve and Rover, hook up with Bandwidth as well as connected home apps.