A shortcode is a memorable number leased by an institution from a mobile network provider or an agent of the mobile network provider, as a code that can be queried by customers who are interested in the institution products or services. The shortcode prompts interested participants to get attracted to an institution‟s offering that has advertised to the masses to query the shortcode and to receive details or more information regarding the products. Customers are requested to send a „Key Word‟ that will trigger an automatic response on details regarding the product offering.

For Example: If a company wants to share daily business updates with its customers, they could advertise the following:
SMS The word UPDATES TO 1234 and receive daily updates on inventory. We are happy to
keep you posted!

A shortcode prompt service is charged to the interested consumer of the institution, whom, after receiving an automatic reply, the consumer‟s airtime is deducted a minimal amount agreed by the institution providing the service. Based on a client‟s interest, an institution can as well choose to pay for the service on every message that is received by a potential consumer of the institution service.
Short Codes are in two forms:

1. Dedicated Short Code – A code that is solely leased to the interested institution, and can only be used by the institution on all matters pertaining utilization of the code.
2. Shared Short Code – A code that is shared by other providers who use the same platform to advertise their services. What separates the institutions are the keywords sent by interested parties.