Quickstart: Apply for a short code


Short Code availability is currently restricted to Azure enterprise subscriptions that have a billing address in the United States and Communication Services resources that have a US data location. Short code cannot be acquired on trial accounts or using Azure free credits. For more information, visit the subscription eligibility page.


Get a short code

To begin provisioning a short code, go to your Communication Services resource on the Azure portal.

Screenshot showing a Communication Services resource's main page.

Apply for a short code

Navigate to the Short Codes blade in the resource menu and click on "Get" button to launch the short code program brief application wizard. For detailed guidance on how to fill out the program brief application check the program brief filling guidelines.


The wizard on the short codes blade will walk you through a series of questions about the program as well as a description of content which will be shared with the carriers for them to review and approve your short code program brief. Review the pre-requisites tab for a list of the program content deliverables you'll need to attach with your application.

Screenshot showing pre-requisites section.

The Short Code Program Brief registration requires details about your messaging program, including the user experience (for example., call to action, opt-in, opt-out, and message flows) and information about your company. This information helps mobile carriers ensure that your program meets the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) guidelines and regulatory requirements.

A short code Program Brief application consists of the following five sections:

Program Details

You'll first need to provide the program name and choose the country/region where you would like to provision the phone number.

Screenshot showing program details section.

Select short code type

Configuring your short code is broken down into two steps:

  • The selection of short code type
  • The selection of the short code features

You can select from two short code types: Random, and Vanity. If you select a random short code, you'll get a short code that is randomly selected by the U.S. Common Short Codes Association (CSCA). If you select a vanity short code, you are required to input a prioritized list of vanity short codes that you’d like to use for your program. The alternatives in the list will be used if the first short code in your list isn't available to lease. Example: 234567, 234578, 234589. You can look up the list of available short codes in the US Short Codes Directory.

When you’ve selected a number type, you can then choose the message type, and target date. Short code registration with carriers usually takes 8-12 weeks, so this target date should be selected considering this registration period.


Azure Communication Service currently only supports SMS. Check roadmap for MMS launch.

Program content details

This section requires you to provide details about your program such as recurrence of the program, program call to action, type and description of program, privacy policy, and terms of the program.

Screenshot showing program content 1 section.

Screenshot showing program content 2 section.

Contact Details

This section requires you to provide information about your company and customer care in the case that end users need help or support with the program.

Screenshot showing contact details section.

Volume Details

This section requires you to provide an estimate of the number of messages you plan on sending per user per month and disclose any expected traffic spikes as part of the program.

Screenshot showing volume details section.

Template Information

This section captures sample messages related to opt-in, opt-out, and other message flows. This tab features a message samples view where you can review sample templates to help you create a template for your use case.

Azure communication service offers an opt-out management service for short codes that allows customers to configure responses to mandatory keywords STOP/START/HELP. Prior to provisioning your short code, you'll be asked for your preference to manage opt-outs. If you opt-in, the opt-out management service will automatically use your responses in the program brief for Opt-in/ Opt-out/ Help keywords in response to STOP/START/HELP keyword.

Screenshot showing template 1 details section.

Screenshot showing template 2 details section.

Screenshot showing template 3 details section.


Once completed, review the short code request details, fees, SMS laws and industry standards and submit the completed application through the Azure Portal.

Screenshot showing template details section.

This program brief will now be automatically sent to the Azure Communication Services’ service desk for review. The service desk specifically is looking to ensure that the provided information is in the right format before sending to all US mobile carriers for approval. The carriers will then review the details of the short code program, a process that can typically take between 8-12 weeks. Once carriers approve the program brief, you'll be notified via email. You can now start sending and receiving messages on this short code for your messaging programs.


Common questions and issues:

  • Purchasing short codes is supported in the US only. To purchase phone numbers, ensure that:
    • The associated Azure subscription billing address is located in the United States. You can't move a resource to another subscription at this time.
    • Your Communication Services resource is provisioned in the United States data location. You can't move a resource to another data location at this time.
  • Updating a short code application
    • Once submitted, you can't edit, view or cancel the short code application. If the Service desk team requires any updates to be made, you'll be notified via email and you'll be able to edit the application with the updates.
    • If you'd like a copy of your application or for any issues, contact us.
  • Cancelling a short code application
    • Cancelling short code applications in the Azure portal is not supported. If you'd like to cancel your application after submitting the program brief, contact us

Next steps

The following documents may be interesting to you:

  • Familiarize yourself with the SMS SDK