In the United States, you can get your own SMS number by visiting the Common Short Code Administration’s website. From there, you may select an SMS number or have one randomly assigned. You will then need to formally apply for the number you want and wait for your application to be approved. If your application is approved, you will then be required to pay a non-refundable fee to lease the number for a period of time. If you would like a virtual SMS number outside of the United States, shortcodes may be requested via similar governing authorities in the country of your choice.
A virtual SMS number, also referred to as short message service number or a common short code, is a numeric code used to receive and send mobile phone messages from a wireless device. Most common short codes are four to five digits in length, but may vary according to the country where the code is granted. Companies and individuals often use a virtual SMS number for marketing purposes, as a short code may be personalized and is often easier to remember for sending text messages than that of a full-length mobile telephone number.
If applying for your own short message service number through the Common Short Code Administration, between selecting your number and applying to lease it, you will also be required to create an account to access the leasing application. After doing so, you may lease as many as 20 different common short codes per order. Each SMS number, however, will be assigned its own separate account.
After placing your order, you must then submit details about your mobile marketing campaign. Details must be given for each individual number you are applying for. A failure to disclose this information may result in your application being rejected.
Once you have successfully leased a number, you must still undergo a process of activating your code with individual wireless carriers. While you technically have a virtual SMS number at the time that your lease is paid for, you will not be authorized to use that number prior to its activation. This process is completely separate from the process of applying for your shortcode and the funds used to secure your original lease are not refunded if an agreement is not reached with a mobile carrier.
An SMS number is usually only leased for a few short months. If you wish to use one for longer than a few months, you will need to negotiate a lease renewal with the Common Short Code Administration or similar agency. Short message service numbers are also only valid in the country where the numbers were leased.