What is toll-free messaging?


Emily Champion


Toll-free messaging is the process of sending and receiving text messages (SMS and MMS) from a toll-free number, such as those starting with 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833, and 800. Toll-free messaging is classified as application-to-person (A2P), as described in the CTIA best practiceswhich allows these types of messages to be sent at higher message-per-second (MPS) rate limits – exactly like those previously reserved for short codes.

Does MMS work on toll-free phone numbers?

Yes! If you’d like to enable your account for toll-free MMS, please reach out to your Account Manager. Not sure who your Account Manager is? Please open a ticket with your Bandwidth Support Team or hit us up at (855) 864-7776.

Are toll-free SMS and MMS queued or throttled?

Not by default. However, it's possible, and even likely, that the wireless carriers will queue or throttle your messages (typically, you should expect between 1 and 5 seconds).

Do toll-free phone numbers support handset-level Delivery Receipts?

Yes. Unlike a local phone number, toll-free SMS and MMS messages can receive handset Delivery Receipts (DLRs) from the major US wireless carriers. Beyond the major carriers, DLRs are available on a carrier basis. For more information about carriers that support DLRs for toll-free, please see our messaging reach list.

Do toll-free phone numbers support emoji and Unicode characters?

Yes! Messaging with toll-free numbers does support emojis. However, if emojis are used, the messages will be encoded differently and the character limit per message will go from 160 characters down to about 70 characters. Thus, the number of messages being sent will potentially be twice as many as you anticipated. For more information on character limits and encoding, please see Bandwidth's SMS character limits and concatenation practices.

Can you text to a short code from a toll-free phone number?

No. Texting to a short code from a toll-free number is not supported. You also won't be able to receive a message from a short code on a toll-free number.

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