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A-Z Telecoms Jargon

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3G is short for the new third generation of mobile communications. 3G phones feature new services such as high speed Internet access, video/audio streaming and downloads and video calling. Only certain phones are currently available with 3G services.



Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) is a type of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, a data communications technology that enables faster data transmission over copper telephone lines than a conventional voiceband modem can provide. It does this by utilizing frequencies that are not used by a voice telephone call. [1] A splitter, or DSL filter, allows a single telephone connection to be used for both ADSL service and voice calls at the same time. ADSL can generally only be distributed over short distances from the telephone exchange (the last mile), typically less than 4 kilometers (2 mi), and [2] but has been known to exceed 8 kilometers (5 mi) if the originally laid wire gauge allows for further distribution.

At the telephone exchange the line generally terminates at a digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) where another frequency splitter separates the voice band signal for the conventional phone network. Data carried by the ADSL are typically routed over the telephone company’s data network and eventually reach a conventional Internet Protocol network.

A secure TETRA communications system for the emergency services and other Public Safety Users.

The first generation of mobile telecommunications technology in which radio signals are modulated proportionally by the strength and frequency of audio sounds.

Average Revenue per User.

Attachable camera
Some camera phones have a camera that is a separate piece of equipment that can be clipped onto your phone. Once it is attached to your phone you can take photos.


The networks operate its network on the standard GSM900 and GSM1800 frequencies. These frequencies are also called Bands.

These standards are used all over the world in the many countries. In USA and Canada, the frequency used is GSM1900, so it’s important to check that your phone is compatible before you go there.

Dual-band phones are good for use in countries that have both GSM900 and GSM1800 mobile networks.

Tri-band phones are good for use in countries that have GSM900, GSM1800, and GSM1900 mobile networks. So if you want to use your phone in Canada or the USA make sure it is a Tri-band phone.


In computer networks, bandwidth is often used as a synonym for data transfer rate – the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period (usually a second). This kind of bandwidth is usually expressed in bits (of data) per second (bps).

BlackBerry™ is a pocket-sized wireless solution giving customers easy access to email, company Intranet and the Internet. With BlackBerry™ users can manage business and personal communications – without being tied to their desks.

Existing business email addresses can be used to send and receive corporate emails. There is no dial-up required as new email is pushed over the GPRS network. BlackBerry™ means you’re ‘always on, always connected’.

enables you to wirelessly connect to mobile phones, computers and other devices. This allows you to send and share information, from a distance of about a meter away.

Built-in camera
A number of phones now have a camera as an integral part of the phone. This built-in capability allows you to take photos without having to carry an attachable camera in addition to your phone.


Colour screen
The number of colours your phone has in it will be reflected in the quality of the image that you can see when using Media Messaging. More colours give you a better experience. Typically phones have either 4,000 or 65,000 colours.

Compatible phone
Any GSM phone that is not locked to another mobile phone network will work with any network. If your phone is locked or if you are not sure, call your current network service provider and they will be able to unlock it.

Customer Relationship Management.


Data allowance / monthly download limit

This is the maximum amount of data that you are allowed to download or upload each month under the terms of your mobile broadband contract. It’s important you choose a mobile broadband contract with a large enough download limit or you will incur extra charges for going over your download allowance.

Data Card
A Data Card is a device containing a SIM card that can be easily slotted into a laptop (or PDA via a sleeve if required). This allows the customer to connect to the data network, to send and receive emails, or connect to the internet.




The underlying network is fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), which uses optical fibre for all except the final few hundred meters to the consumer, and delivers claimed download speeds of “up to 76 Mbit/s” and upload speeds of “up to 19 Mbit/s” depending on package selected. [1] The fibre terminates in a new roadside cabinet containing a DSLAM, from where the final connection to the customer uses VDSL2 technology.  Unlike ADSL which typically delivers far lower speeds.


General Packet Radio Service. A technology sometimes referred to as 2.5G that allows customers to remain connected to the network between calls for the receipt and transmission of data.

When using GPRS, charges are based on the volume of data you send and receive. You can access around 1000 WAP pages for each megabyte (MB).

The Global System for Mobile communications. Originally defined as a pan-European standard for digital cellular telephone networks to support roaming, it is now one of the world’s main digital mobile standards.

When you use GSM, you’re charged for the duration of the call you make to WAP. If you’re calling plan has inclusive minutes, your WAP call can be part of that call allowance when you’re at home. When abroad, you’ll be charged at the International rate for calls back to your country of origin.



Hosted Lines

Instead of routing voice traffic over traditional wires, hosted telephony transmits calls over dedicated broadband connections.

High Speed Downlink Packet Access widely regarded as the next enhancement to 3G, also referred to as superfast 3G.


Internet Service Provider

IMEI code
The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit code used to identify individual GSM mobile phones. The IMEI can be displayed on most phones by dialing the code *#06#.

Also, it is usually printed on your phone under the battery. An IMEI code is divided into four sections, with each section separated by a space or back slash, e.g. 490520 30 123456 0 or 490520/30/123456/0. When buying mobile phone insurance, you will need your IMEI code.

In-car charger
An in-car charger is attached to the phone and then plugged in to the car’s cigarette lighter. This enables you to charge your phone while driving.

In-car kit
A full hands free car kit provides radio mute and voice dialing features. An alternative to a full hands free car kit is an easy-to-use mobile holder, which can be used with a mobile charger and a plug-in hands free car kit.

Instant messaging
Instant messaging allows people to communicate in real time by sending messages over a network to each other. Easy one-to-one communication is made possible through ‘buddy lists’ which display the status of your registered friends.

The instant messaging system alerts you whenever someone on your private buddy list is online. You can then start a chat session with that particular person.


(Integrated Services Digital Network) The ISDN integrates speech & data on the same lines i.e. calls, data & fax.  ISDN is a circuit-switched telephone network system, which also provides access to packet switched networks, designed to allow digital transmission of voice and data over ordinary telephone copper wires, resulting in potentially better voice quality than an analog phone can provide




Kilobytes (KB)
GPRS usage can be viewed online and is shown in kilobytes (Kb). 1024Kb = 1Megabyte


Level care (Openreach)

Openreach have Service Level Agreements which they must adhere to, which are dictated by Care Levels. What this means in lament terms is, for a small extra charge per month you can secure a higher Care Level resulting in a better Service Level Agreement.

For example, if you have a normal single analogue copper line with Care Level 1, your fault will be responded to (responded, not resolved) the next working day PLUS one. This means, if your fault is reported on Friday afternoon, it will not even be looked into until the following Tuesday – unless an engineer happens to be in the area – since working days do not cover weekends and Bank Holidays.

Increasing your Care Level to ensure faults are dealt with quicker by BT Openreach will minimize any losses; therefore, I would highly recommend you consider upgrading any business critical lines to at least Level 3. Please note that DSL (broadband), due to its unpredictability, only have “best effects” Service Level Agreements.

Listed below are the different Care Levels available (please note, if you increase any Care Levels on an existing line, it will take up to 7 days to change on Openreach systems and cannot be raised during an open fault – you can however set the Care Level higher during the initial raising of a fault for an expensive one off fee but this will only be fixed until fault resolution):

Level 1 – a fault will be responded to within the next working day plus one

Level 2 – a fault will be responded to within the next working day – if your line is an ISDN, this is standard

Level 3 – if a fault is raised by 12:59pm, Openreach will endeavor to repair the fault before 0:00am. If a fault is raised after 13:00pm, Openreach will endeavor to repair the fault by 12:59pm the next day

Level 4 – Openreach will respond to and resolve any fault within 6 hours

The only time in which BT Openreach may fail in delivering their Service Level Agreement is if matters beyond their reasonable control (MBORC) occur. Examples of this would be bad weather, copper theft or exchange equipment failure.


MP3 is a popular digital audio encoding format, designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent audio, yet still sound like the original uncompressed audio to most listeners. MP3’s are available to download to compatible devices.

Media messaging
Media messaging is also known as picture messaging and multimedia messaging (MMS).

It is the ability to send and receive messages including photos, text, sounds, and images from media messaging capable mobile phones and the Internet to other media messaging capable mobile phones and e-mail accounts.

Messages sent to recipients using mobiles that are not media messaging enabled will result in a text message being sent inviting them to access the message via the network website.

Megabyte (MB)
GPRS data usage is measured in megabytes (MB). One megabyte is a million bytes, or a thousand Kilobytes.

A place on your phone used to store information such as phone numbers, text messages and pictures (measured in bytes).

Mobile Internet
This is another term for mobile broadband.

Mobile web
Mobile web is a service that allows you to surf the net and stay in touch with emails while you’re on the move.

As long as you have compatible equipment and the right data-calling plan, you’ll be able to stay in touch wherever you go subject to network coverage.

Whether you’re a busy executive who spends a lot of time away from the office and need to check your email or you’re on of the many people who love to surf the net for entertainment – Mobile web could be for you.

Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Mobile operators that do not own spectrum and usually do not have their own network infrastructure.




Parental control
We have little control over content published on the open Internet. But we do offer a ‘parental control’ setting, which restricts WAP browsing to our own WAP sites. To activate parental control within the UK, you will have to request this from the network.

This stands for Pay As You Go – a service which offers an alternative for people not willing to sign up to a mobile broadband monthly contract.

Personal Digital Assistant.

Personal hands free
A standard personal hands free kit plugs into your phone and is easy and convenient to use. A personal hands free kit usually has a one-touch answer facility, a remote button for answering and terminating calls, a clip to hold headset in place, foam covers allow for a comfortable fit.

Personal Identification Number can prevent other people making calls on your phone.

Polyphonic ringtones are better quality than the standard ringtones available because they have several tone series, which allows you to give your phone a ringtone that sounds something close to ‘CD quality’.

While older phones usually do not support Polyphonic ringtones not all but most recently launched phones will have the capability to support polyphonic ringtones.

Post pay
Often referred to as Pay monthly. Customers can take out either 12 month or 18 month contacts under this option and then choose the best calling plan suited to their needs.

Predictive text input
For typing messages, predictive text input, also known as T9 Text Input, is twice as fast as multi-tapping, and it is the easiest way to type text using the limited keypad on a mobile phone.

• Just one key press per letter with no multi-tapping
• Extensive word database including proper names
• Ability to add words to the T9 Text Input database
• Available in many languages
• Full punctuation and symbol capabilities

By using the letters grouped on each phone key and a ‘fast access’ database, T9 software requires just one key press per letter to quickly recognise the most commonly used word for a specific key sequence.

For example, you can enter the word ‘how’ with only three keys: 4-6-9. You’d have to use twice as many keys using multi-tap. T9 knows that the most commonly used word with that key sequence in ‘how’.

If more than one word has the same sequence, T9 displays the most commonly used word first. If that’s not the word you want, you can view the next word matching that key sequence by pressing the NEXT key (usually the down arrow or 0 key, but check your manufacturer’s user guide for your phone).

Premium-rate text messages
These may contain adult content or access to chat services. Customers wishing to bar these services should call their service provider to active the bars.

Often referred to as ‘pay as you go’. There are no bills, no contracts, just competitive call rates and easy top up options.

Public safety users
Any organisation, as determined by Ofcom, which has broadly fulfilled the or “PSU” following criteria: (a) responds to emergencies; (b) is involved in emergency situations reasonably frequently; (c) is civilian, or is required to respond to civilian emergencies; and (d) requires interaction with those who respond to emergencies.

Personal unblocking key. This is used to unblock a phone when the incorrect security PIN has been entered incorrectly 3 times.




We use the term roaming to mean using your mobile abroad on another network. This applies to making or receiving calls, and using text or data.


A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect, and are the critical device that keeps data flowing between networks and keeps the networks connected to the Internet.

When data is sent between locations on one network or from one network to a second network the data is always seen and directed to the correct location by the router. The router accomplishes this by using headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the data packets, and they also use protocols such as ICMP to communicate with each other and configure the best route between any two hosts.
The Internet itself is a global network connecting millions of computers and smaller networks — so you can see how crucial the role of a router is to our way of communicating and computing.



Subscriber Acquisition Cost.

SIM only
Your SIM Card is the brain of any mobile device. It stores all sorts of information for you and for us. Quite simply, if you don’t have one you can’t make or receive any calls at all. When your SIM Card is in place and your phone is switched on it helps us identify what types of calls you can make from your mobile.

If you already have a mobile phone and you want an O2 Online tariff, you can buy just a SIM Card from O2 and put it into your existing phone.

A combination of mobile phone, camera and personal digital assistant.

A service sometimes known as text messaging, which enables mobile telephone users to send and receive written messages on their handsets.

Surf bundles
Extra Mobile Web browsing option to your Pay Monthly Online tariff. Surf Bundles can be used for GPRS Mobile Web only.

Stand-by Time
The amount of time you can leave your fully charged phone turned on before the phone battery becomes completely flat.


Also known as a calling plan. It is made up of packages, offers and services including minutes, texts and a browsing allowance.

Talk Time
The length of time you can talk on your phone without recharging the battery. The battery capacity of a phone is usually expressed in terms of so many hours of talk time or so many hours of standby time. When you’re talking, the phone draws additional power from the battery.

Terrestrial Trunked Radio. Radio technology used in networks that require a high level of security and availability.


Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. An international standard of third generation, or 3G, mobile telecommunications.


With a compatible handset you can now send a video, a sound clip and a text wherever you want – in-country or abroad.

Video Messaging is simple & fun to use just like Text Messaging and Media Messaging. Just create your video using the camera on your mobile and include it into a message.

Video calling
The ability of some 3G phones to make calls whilst showing a live video stream of the person you are speaking to so that you can see as well as hear them.

Voicemail 901
Voicemail 901 is a simple to use answering service


VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is also referred to as IP Telephony or Internet Telephony. It is another way of making phone calls using the Internet 


“WAP” Wireless Application Protocol. A global, open standard for accessing online services through mobile devices.

WAP gives you text-based information from the web in a format that is easy for a mobile screen to display and quick to download. O2 WAP service is available on both GSM and GPRS. The only difference is how you pay for using the service.

Wireless Local Area Network allows you to wirelessly connect to your email and Internet at speeds of up to 11,000MB (currently the fastest way to get access to information whilst you’re on the move -faster than 3G).







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