Local, Toll-Free, and Short-Code Phone Number Options

There are several phone number configuration options to choose from when selecting to utilize an SMS platform. At Sonar, we want you to be informed on all the options, characteristics, and use cases for your business needs. Sonar utilizes A2P (application-to-person) protocol for sending messages to improve deliverability rates. We offer local, toll-free, and short code numbers while boasting some of the strongest deliverability rates in the SMS space. Let’s take a look:


Local numbers allow for more of a personalized feeling when sending texts. The Sonar number will match the local area codes of your location or the region you select. This is great for companies looking to target local areas while staying on a modest budget. It will be more recognizable to the receiver, which tends to lead to higher interaction and increases overall engagements. However, there are some requirements when utilizing local numbers. For instance, the volume needs to stay low enough (lower than 100 unique recipients per day) in order to not be flagged as spam by major carriers. If you like to send images (MMS) with local, the image will be sent as a link (most smartphones show a preview of the image link). We also cannot ensure less than one second per message delivery with local, due to logistical measures. One of the biggest issues when using local numbers is its inability to scale with volume growth without some maneuvering behind the scenes. In this case, do not use a bunch of local numbers to match the volume of toll-free or short-code campaigns. This is known as “snowshoeing” and carriers are very aware of these spammer tricks and adjust their filters accordingly. If you need to send a high volume of messages, we highly recommend using the appropriate tools.



If you want to increase deliverability speed, send moderate-volume messages, utilize two-way communication, and have the ability to transfer the recipient to a phone call, then toll-free is the option for your business. For businesses with an existing Toll-Free number, you can text-enable it. Your toll-free number will most likely start with 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. Having the same number for both voice and messaging means a better user experience for your customers. Some companies even choose toll-free for one-way communication, such as alerts and notifications. There are also brandable options when it comes to toll-free so you can have a consistent number/area code across your company. One of the best attributes of toll-free numbers is the low-cost of usage. Toll-free is best suited for sales and support applications.



There are two types of short-codes: vanity and random. A vanity short-code is a specific set of digits that you choose, while a random short code is directly assigned to you. The short-code platform was developed to accommodate high-volume SMS traffic with upfront consumer protections from unwanted messaging traffic. One big attribute to note is short-codes are not subject to carrier filtering. In fact, shortcodes are the only way to ensure the deliverability of your messages without the risk of being filtered by carriers. Nevertheless, short-codes are still subject to a strict set of requirements. The CTIA has a list of rules that all short-code programs must follow. For example, there are specific language requirements you must include in your advertisements, terms page, and messages. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules varies from carrier to carrier. Examples of applications best suited for short-code include marketing communications, large one-to-many notification bursts, time-sensitive alerts, and high volumes of one-to-one transactional notifications.



Regardless of which number route your company chooses to go down, Sonar is always here ensuring you stay compliant and utilize best practices for each option. Our dedicated success team is more than happy to assist and improve your mobile outreach. Visit sendsonar.com for more information regarding our platform, solutions, and features.

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