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Short codes also referred to as short numbers or campaign short codes, are network specific access codes used for sending and receiving messages (both SMS and MMS) between consumers and companies. Short codes are shorter than a normal mobile phone number and usually consist of four to six digits, depending on the country.

Short codes are typically country specific, that is, you need a short code per country and they rarely overlap across countries (Ireland and UK and some countries in Latin America, for example, are the exception). In some cases, short numbers are specific per operator, which can be difficult to market across the entire country, but this is relatively rare.


In some countries, for example, the USA and many parts of LATAM, using a short code Sender ID is mandatory for compliance reasons, to ensure the identity of the message sender is known at all times. In some countries before a message can be sent to a subscriber, an Opt-in MO message must be sent first. Similarly, in order to comply with local regulations in some countries certain keywords must be supported, for example, STOP, INFO, HELP.


Note: The Sinch Customer Dashboard contains comprehensive Country Information pages, which detail regulatory and compliance information to help you communicate successfully with different countries.


Types of Short Code

There are several different types of short code:



dedicated short code is an SMS short code that's used and paid for exclusively by one business. Dedicated short codes give unlimited access to specific keywords that a business may want.


dedicated short code is different from a shared short code, where the short code is used and paid for by multiple businesses.

Keywords are used to differentiate traffic. The keyword needs to be unique and you cannot use a keyword that has already been picked. 


A random short code is randomly selected and assigned and cannot be reviewed in advance.


A vanity short code is a specific number that a business specifically chooses.


Premium short codes allow consumers to pay for goods and services by sending or receiving a SMS message to/from a premium rated short phone number.

Note: Sinch does not offer premium short codes.

Non-Premium (Standard Rate)

Messages sent from a handset to any Standard Rate Short Code are charged to the sender at their standard network rate.

Free-to-End User (or FreeText)

Messages sent to a Free To End User short code will be free to the user, and billed to the short code owner. 


A test short code can be used to prove the application works as it should and supports integration activities with the SMS provider. There are messaging caps to how many messages can be sent via this route.

Production (Live)

An active short code which is in use.


A few things to remember about short numbers:

  • They will only work on local domestic phones of the country of the short code, even while roaming abroad, for example, a UK subscriber, traveling in Sweden will be able to send a text message to a UK short code, but not a Swedish one and vice versa.
  • In general, short numbers are more expensive than long codes and take longer to setup and provision, but due to their short length are popular for interactive mobile campaigns.

Technical Information

When submitting a short code Sender ID via SMPP (and some others), you need to remember to set the correct Source TON and Source NPI settings. For more information on this please see - Link to TON/NPI Document


Where can I get a Short Code?

To get access to a short code the best thing to do is reach out to your Sinch Account Manager directly, if you do not have an account manager then our online team can help you. Just reach out to and they will get back to you as soon as possible.


Take a look at the Sinch SMS Product page to learn more about our SMS products, or click here to sign up to our self-service portal and get started today.

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Last update:
‎04-30-2024 12:59 AM
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