Numbers for All: A New Approach to Trial Accounts

At Twilio we’re proud of our reputation for easing the pain of developers everywhere when creating new ways for people to communicate. That’s why we’re constantly improving the experience for developers building on our platform, whether they are longtime customers or just getting started with Twilio.

Choosing and programming a phone number is a core part of our platform. But before today, that experience was limited to upgraded accounts. Starting today, all new users signing up for Twilio will choose their own phone number from our entire inventory of numbers in 13 different countries. Existing Twilio users who have not yet upgraded will also have the option to choose a number of their own from the account dashboard.

Same Twilio Experience From Free Trial to Production

Why the change? Before this update, new users signing up for Twilio used the Twilio Sandbox to build and test their apps before upgrading. The Sandbox is a shared phone number, which means that inbound calls and SMS messages require the caller/texter to enter a PIN in order to properly route to each user’s app. Moreover, the web configuration interface and API for interacting with the Sandbox are inconsistent with the rest of our phone number and application configuration tools and APIs. This created a mismatch in the developer experience between trial-account users and upgraded-account users. We believe repairing that mismatch will provide a more seamless transition for everyone developing on the Twilio platform.

Now that every user can begin with their own phone number, all users can use the web interface or the API to configure it exactly as they would configure any number. Best of all, the phone number doesn’t go away after upgrading, so developers can launch their apps without changing any code.

There are some minor restrictions on these trial phone numbers:

  • The number is yours to keep for 45 days. Once it expires you can request a new one.
  • All calls and SMS messages include a note indicating that the number is a trial number.
  • Trial numbers can only call and text verified numbers.

All of these restrictions go away after upgrading and the number is yours to keep.

We think this change improves the experience of developing Twilio apps, and makes it even easier for people to add voice and SMS capabilities into their existing apps. As always we welcome your feedback. Please send notes to help@twilio.com.  Sign up for Twilio here.

Happy hacking!