Understanding SMS shortcodes

By default, all SMS will be sent through the same number.

This number will appear as the sender of the SMS received by the profiles, and it is commonly called 'shortcode'.

However, the 'shortcode' expression lumps together several concepts that are hard to distinguish.

Default shortcode

The default shortcode is the number through which SMS are sent if no additional configuration is applied.

This shortcode vary according to the country.




36047 (or 36070 if needed)




8850 / Depends on licence




No default shortcode

Above a threshold volume in ITALY, using the default shortcode is no longer possible and a dedicated shortcode becomes mandatory (see below).

In CANADA and the UNITED STATES, it is not possible to use a default shortcode: a dedicated shortcode is mandatory (see below).

Modifying the sender

At step 1 of the creation of your SMS campaign, you can specify a 'shortcode'.


In fact, this field allows you to use 2 different methods to modify the sender of your message:

  • the dedicated numeric shortcode

  • the alphanumeric alias (or OA change)

The legal rules for these 2 methods are radically different from one country to another.

When talking about countries for SMS sending, it always implies the country of the recipient.

It is determined by the prefix of their number, not by their real location even if they are traveling.

If you have an international database, this implies that different profiles on the same campaign can follow different rules.

Dedicated numeric shortcode

A dedicated shortcode is a number that belongs to you and that will replace the default sender number.

This is useful if you want to associate your brand with a specific number in the mind of your profiles, especially if the alias is not allowed in your target country.

A dedicated shortcode has a set-up cost and an operational cost. It also requires a specific set-up with our partner, which takes between 2 and 3 months.

The cost can vary according to the debit required. One should however note that this debit will always remain below that of the default shortcode.

A dedicated shortcode is possible in the following countries:

  • France

  • Belgium

  • Spain

  • Netherlands

  • Italy (mandatory above a threshold volume)

  • Canada/USA (mandatory)

  • United Kingdom: this is not properly a shortcode, but a 'virtual long number'. The function is similar, but instead of a 4-5 digits code, this is a full number, like that of an individual.

Each dedicated shortcode is allocated to one specific country.

If you target several countries in your SMS campaigns, you would need to set up one shortcode per country and divide the campaigns according to the target countries. Indeed, if the shortcode is not valid (eg. it doesn't match the recipient's country), the SMS will be rejected.

Alphanumeric alias

The alphanumeric alias, or OA change, allows you to personalize the sender to display a word instead of a number: for instance, replacing 36047 by ACTITO.

The alphanumeric term implies that both letters and numbers can be used, but numbers can only be used in combination with letters (if your brand includes a number, for instance). The alias cannot be numeric only, as that would be the equivalent of using a shortcode that does not belong to you. For instance, a SMS sent with the alias 112 will be rejected or sent with the default shortcode.

Indeed, a major difference between the alias and the dedicated shortcode is that the alias is free of charge and free of use... according to some rules specific to each country.


ALIAS (OA change)


  • Alphanumeric of 11 characters maximum

  • The recipient who wishes to STOP will not be able to answer directly but will have to send a new message to the specified number: the mention STOP 00000 is added automatically (see Managing STOP SMS)

  • Should the alias be numeric only, it will be automatically replaced by the default shortcode

  • Note: Special characters (é, à, è...) are not allowed




A declaration per campaign is required to use an alias => this is not possible with our partner


  • Sender can be personalized with alpha characters

  • Between 3 and 11 characters

  • No declaration required


  • Alphanumeric of 11 characters maximum

  • The recipient who wishes to STOP will not be able to answer directly but will have to send a new message to the specified number

  • Should the alias be numeric only, it will be automatically replaced by the default shortcode


  • Alphanumeric of 11 characters maximum


  • Alphanumeric of 11 characters maximum

  • Spaces in the alias are deleted by operators

If the country of your recipients allows it, the alias should also be specified in the 'shortcode' field at step 1 of your campaign.

If you send SMS with an alphanumeric alias to numbers where it is not allowed (Belgium, Italy), the message will be sent with the default shortcode, but it will not fall in error. You can therefore prepare the same campaign to target your French and Belgian profiles, for instance. French numbers will see the alias with your brand, while Belgian numbers will see 8850 as sender.

Personalizing the alias

It is possible to use personalization in the 'shortcode' field!

This allows you to make the sender of your message dynamic (as long as your target country allow alphanumeric aliases).

You can personalize it with an attribute of your DB or your custom tables, such as the profile's favorite shop for instance.

However, please make sure that all the values of the attribute mapped with the personalization follow the alias formatting rules (max. 11 characters and no special characters)