The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting cooler. To us in SMS marketing in Canada, this means the annual short code brownout period is just around the corner.
What is the Short Code Carrier Brownout Period?
The short code brownout notice or “The Canadian Carrier Brownout” is a deadline for new short code applications for new sms marketing programs in Canada.
Canadian carriers stop provisioning (supplying) new short codes or short code migrations for a period of time between the end of October and the new year.
The Canadian Carrier Brownout is an annual carrier provisioning freeze during which new Short Codes, or changes requiring network updates to existing Short Codes, such as aggregator migrations or price point changes, do not occur.
As you will see, each carrier is different and the rules are a little cloudy, but hopefully, we can help make some sense of it.
You might be interested in The Canadian Short Code Guide – Everything You Need to Know
What is the application process for a short code?
If you’re a company thinking about starting an SMS marketing program in Canada to take advantage of the Holidays and have spec’d out the requirements for a short code (learn the basics about short codes here), you have to apply and be approved for a short code by the Short Code Council, made up of Canadian telcos.
Each application needs to be considered and approved by the carriers before you can even start your program. You can read more about this on txt.ca.
Most companies will work directly with their messaging partner, like Raange, to procure a short code on their behalf.
New short code applications are reviewed and approved every Tuesday by the Short Code Council. Those applications need to be submitted by 1:00 p.m. (ET) the previous Thursday.
When is the brownout notice?
As per Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA):
In order to meet the last provisioning date of 2023 and to have a Short Code provisioned or migrated by ALL CARRIERS, applications must be submitted to the Association by: Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 1:00pm ET Applications submitted by this deadline will be provisioned by the participating carriers between Nov. 14 – Dec. 12, 2023. **Applications submitted after this deadline will be scheduled for provisioning in January 2023.**
As always, the Short Code Council will continue to meet throughout the remainder of November and December to review applications for provisioning starting January 8, 2024, with Freedom, Rogers, and TELUS to follow with provisioning on January 9, 2024.
Programs will continue to be considered on a first come, first served basis; provisioning dates are dependent on the volume of applications submitted.
What are the dates for each carrier?
This is where it gets a little confusing – that’s why the above deadline is the most important if you want no hiccups!
Freedom Mobile – Applications submitted after the October 26th deadline will not be provisioned until January 8th, 2024.
Rogers – Applications submitted after the October 26th deadline will not be provisioned until January 8th, 2024.
TELUS – Applications submitted after the October 26th deadline will not be provisioned until January 8th, 2024.
ALL OTHER CARRIERS – Applications submitted after the November 3rd deadline will not be provisioned until January 9, 2024.
Thursday, October 26th, 2023 is the most important date if you still have the aspirations of starting an sms marketing short code program in Canada before the Holidays.
Otherwise, you have to wait until January 2024 to start your program.
If you feel like you need some help deciphering this process, we have a team of regulatory experts who work directly with the CWTA and the individual carriers to help expedite the process.
If you have any questions whatsoever, our team is here to help so please feel free to reach out anytime.