Mobile Glossary / Mobile Phone Terms Dictionary / Lexicon

General:

  • Air time - Air time refers to the monthly allowance of talk minutes you're entitled to with your mobile phone contract.handset – mobile phone hardware
  • Service plan – a monthly contract that charges calls at a set rate and sometimes gives you a certain amount of free calls.
  • Service provider – a company that provides the connection for your mobile phone
  • Coverage – the area where your mobile phone can be used
  • Pre-paid – a service you pay for before you use it
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) - Pay as you go means you're not tied to a contract and only pay for minutes and data when you top up.
  • Roaming - This is sometimes referred to as International Roaming and means using your phone in another country and on an another nework. Your network and talk plan will determine how many countries you can roam in and what charges you may incur from using this service.Typically, service providers charge higher fees for calls, messages and access to the Internet. In our case we offer reduced fees.
  • Reception – signal strength
  • text message – a message of up to 160 characters sent from a mobile phone (also called SMS)
  • SIM card – the small plastic card that enables your phone to connect to the service provider. This stands for Subscriber Identity Module. It is the chip that identifies the mobile number and mobile account to the network. It stores essential data and is required to make or receive calls on your network. There are three types of SIM cards: standard SIMs, microSIMs and nano SIMs as well as eSIM which a digital SIM. The sole difference between them is size.
  • eSIM - An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM.
  • Dual-SIM - A dual-SIM phone has two SIM slots and enables you to have two active SIMs at the same time. This means you will have two phone numbers and can receive calls and texts on both lines.
  • SIM lock - GSM phones can be "locked", that is made to accept only SIM cards belonging to a specific network. Typically, this is done so that phones will work only on the network of the carrier. SIM-locked phones are usually locked to a carrier when the carrier sells the device at a subsidized price in order to attract new subscribers to its services. Some carriers offer a SIM unlock option to their subscribers after a certain amount of time has passed. Unlocking the phone can be done by entering a special code which is generated based on the phone's unique IMEI number. Some third-party shops offer unauthorized unlocking of SIM-locked phones, but using their services usually voids the official warranty of the phone.
  • Unlocked phone - A phone without a carrier SIM lock.
  • Credit – money to make calls on a pre-paid phone service
  • Mobile Internet – Internet on a mobile phone
  • Monthly contract – the contract you sign when you use a service plan
  • Direct debit – when money is automatically taken out of your bank account
  • A top-up voucher – a ticket to add credit to your mobile phone
  • Talk time - This is the same as air time and refers to the actual amount of time spent talking on the phone, or in some cases the allowance of time available on your talk plan.
  • Voicemail - Voicemail is a service provided by your network. Voicemail records audio messages from callers when you are unable to answer the phone.
  • Smartphone – a mobile phone with many extra functions

Technical:

  • 1G - 1G is the first generation of wireless telephone technology, allowing the use of mobile phones. The first commercial 1G network was launched in 1979 in Japan. 1G networks use analogue radio signals and facilitate a download speed of 2.9 KB/s to 5.6 KB/s.
  • 2G - 2G is the second generation of wireless telephone technology, differing from the first mainly in that phone conversations are digitally encrypted instead of analogue, making it far more efficient.
  • 3G - 3G is the third generation of wireless telephone technology with increased bandwidth and higher transfer rates. This allows better use of Internet, video-calls, mobile TV and other applications on mobile phones.
  • 4G - 4G is the next step of the mobile network evolution. 4G networks have higher capacities, making the mobile experience even better for smartphone users with the increasing usage of Internet on one’s mobile. Different 4G systems offer download speeds up to 300 Mbps = massively quicker than its predecessors!
  • 5G - 5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor to 4G and promises to be faster than previous generations while opening up new uses cases for mobile data. Some countries state that they will launch 5G networks late 2018 or early 2019. While the UK, for example, is expected to start rolling out 5G in 2020. The top-performing 4G, LTE networks can deliver peak download speeds of 300Mbit/s. In comparison, 5G estimates range from 1Gb/s - 10Gb/s. For context, that will allow a 1080p HD movie to be downloaded to your smartphone in 10-40 seconds. 5G benefits from a much lower latency, resulting in very little delay. This low latency will be critical for applications such as self-driving cars. A typical 4G network has a 45ms latency compared to 5G's theoretical 1ms. A 5G network will also have greater capacity and will better cope with high demand. 5G uses new higher radio frequencies because they are less cluttered and can carry information much faster. However, higher frequencies don't travel as far. 5G is enabled by having a larger number of smaller multiple input and output (MIMO) antennas closer together. Operators are able to configure a single physical network in multiple virtual networks 'slices'. These 'slices' can be allocated accordingly and therefore manage the network better and delivering the appropriate resources dependent on the application. Currently, very few mobile phones are 5G capable.
  • A-GPS - A-GPS is technology used by mapping software that speeds up the process of determining your location, so you can get directions faster.
  • ANDROID - Android is a smartphone operating system owned by Google. Many different handset developers (HTC, Samsung, etc.) use the Android OS on their devices.
  • APPLE APP STORE - The place where iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can download apps, free and paid. It was the first of its kind to be launched with the second generation of the iPhone in 2008 as an extension to iTunes. It sparked an entirely new lucrative industry – the app industry.
  • Apple iOS 11 -  iOS 11 was introduced during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2017 and was released to the public on September 19, 2017 and is the current version of iOS. Control Center redesign bringing all controls together on one page plus gains support for 3D Touch, while the Lock screen and Notification Center are combined. While iOS 11 introduces a completely redesigned App Store while support for Augmented Reality apps is provided through ARKIt.
  • APP - Applications are software or programmes for mobile phones. Users can download apps on their smartphone (e.g. Angry Birds, Dictionary, Weather Forecast) and businesses can develop and publish apps to build a connection with the mobile audience. The different OS’s have different app stores where apps can be downloaded.
  • BANDWIDTH - Bandwidth refers to data-rate or data transfer speed – how fast download a network allows. It is commonly measured in bits per second (bps). Kbps = 1000 bits, Mbps = 1 million bits, Gbps = 1 billion bits. See 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G for the development of wireless data transfer speeds.
  • BLACKBERRY - Blackberry is a mobile brand developed by RIM (Research-in-Motion). Their phones are typically recognized by their QWERTY keyboard and are renowned for their emphasis on security and business solutions.
  • BLACKBERRY APP WORLD - Blackberry App World is Blackberry’s app store, where applications for Blackberry devices can be downloaded. It was launched in April 2008 and of the three major app providers (Apple and Android) it has the largest revenue per app.
  • BLUETOOTH - Bluetooth is a short-range communication protocol that enables mobile devices (with Bluetooth capability) to send and receive information wirelessly to nearby devices using the 2.4 GHz spectrum band. This typically includes wireless headsets or data-transfer to another mobile phone.
  • CARRIER - A company, also known as service provider, that provides mobile phone users with services and subscriptions to mobile phone networks.
  • CDMA - CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is a type of technique, allowed with the introduction of 2G networks, for multiplexing digital transmission of radio signals in which each voice or data call uses the whole radio band, and is assigned a unique code.
  • EDGE - EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) is the final stage of the evolution of the GSM standard, bringing 2G closer to 3G capacity for data transfer (faster download). EDGE was launched on GSM networks for the first time in the US in 2003 with a typical speed of 384 KB/s.
  • GB (Gigabyte) - 1GB is equal to approximately 1 billion bytes or exactly 1024 MB.
  • GOOGLE PLAY - Google Play (formerly Android Market) is Google’s app store for Android mobile devices (smartphones and tablets).
  • GPRS - GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a packet-switching technology that enables high-speed data transmission of up to 115 KB/s. It is an enhancement for GSM, often described as 2.5G.
  • GPS - Global Positioning System is a direct connection to satellites that determines the exact geographical position of a receiver. Satnavs use GPS connection but many smartphones today also have a built-in GPS system. This allows the user to use their smartphone as a satnav.
  • GSM - GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) is a digital mobile cellular standard developed and widely used in Europe. It is one of the main 2G digital wireless standards.
  • HANDSET - A handset is a term used in reference to a mobile phone or a mobile device.
  • IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) - IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number that uniquely identifies a GSM or UMTS mobile phone. It consists of four parts and provides information, such as the manufacturer, to the mobile network. It is usually printed on the device under the battery. IMEI can be used to "ban" a stolen phone, making it hard to use by the thief with a new SIM card.
  • IOS - iOS is Apple’s operating system native to all of Apple’s mobile devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch).
  • JAVA  - An object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Programmes authored in Java do not rely on an operating system, as long as Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is installed on the device on which they are running.
  • KB (Kilobyte) - A unit of digital information equal to 1024 bytes. Also abbreviated as kB, K and Kbyte.
  • Long Term Evolution (LTE) - LTE is the next-step of the evolution of UMTS (3G) and HSDPA (3.5G). It's the only wireless network technology that's correctly called 4G. Some carries may market their high-speed HSDPA+ networks as 4G, but that's not technically correct. Theoretically, LTE networks should provide wireless data downlink speeds of up to 300Mbps and uplink speeds of up to 75Mbps.
  • Mbps- Mbps stands for megabytes per second and is a measure of the speed of your internet connection.
  • microSD card- A microSD card is a tiny storage accessory that you insert in your phone to massively boost capacity.
  • MMS - MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a standard for telephony messaging systems that enable the sending of messages that include multimedia objects (images, audio, video, rich text). It may or may not include normal text.
  • MOBILE CARRIERS - See carriers.
  • MOBILE MESSAGE- SMS and/or MMS message sent to a handset.
  • MOBILE NETWORK OPERATORS - See carriers.
  • MOBILE WEB - The Mobile Web is a channel for delivery of web content, which adapts the content to a mobile context. The mobile context is characterised by different things such as mobile constraints (screen size, keyboard input) and special capabilities (location, connection type such as 3G or Wifi)
  • NFC (Near Field Communication) - NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 cm distance. NFC is an upgrade of the existing proximity card standard (RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. It allows users to seamlessly share content between digital devices, pay bills wirelessly or even use their cellphone as an electronic traveling ticket on existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation. The significant advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is the shorter set-up time. Instead of performing manual configurations to identify Bluetooth devices, the connection between two NFC devices is established at once (under a 1/10 second). Due to its shorter range, NFC provides a higher degree of security than Bluetooth and makes NFC suitable for crowded areas where correlating a signal with its transmitting physical device (and by extension, its user) might otherwise prove impossible. NFC can also work when one of the devices is not powered by a battery (e.g. on a phone that may be turned off, a contactless smart credit card, etc.).
  • NETWORK OPERATOR  See carriers.
  • OS  - OS stands for Operating System and is the software that runs a mobile device. Apple’s iPhone runs on its native iOS, Android phones use a different OS, and Blackberry still another.
  • PIN code (Personal Identification Number) - In mobile devices, the PIN acts like a password preventing other people from gaining unauthorized access to your device. This is a numeric code which must be entered each time the device is started (unless the PIN security feature is turned off). In GSM mobile phones, the PIN is normally associated with the SIM card (not the phone) and must be entered each time the phone is switched on. If a wrong PIN is entered three times in a row the handset is locked until you enter another code, called a PUK code. Both the PIN and the PUK codes are supplied by the operator, but only the PIN code can be changed by the user.
  • PUK Code (PIN UnlocK Code) -  A PUK code is required if a GSM SIM card was locked after entering the wrong PIN code three times in a row. Entering a wrong PUK code ten times in a row disables the SIM card permanently. Both the PIN and the PUK codes are supplied by the operator, but only the PIN code can be changed by the user.
  • SMARTPHONE - The smartphone is the new generation of mobile phones optimised for using mobile Internet and applications. It typically has touch-screen features and gives you the possibility to surf the Internet and download games/applications. Very much like a mini-computer!
  • SMS - SMS (Short Message Service) is a messaging system that allows sending messages between mobile devices that consist of short messages, normally with text only content.
  • STREAMING - An Internet derived expression for the one-way transmission of video and audio content. When streaming video, the video is not downloaded onto your device, but it is viewed directly online via your device (still using of your data allowance).
  • SUBSCRIPTION - Product or services initiated by a mobile subscriber to receive content on an ongoing basis, typically with periodic bill due to payment. It is not a one-time usage service.
  • SYMBIAN - Symbian is a OS used on smartphones, particularly the older generation of smartphones from the beginning of this millennium. It is still used by some smartphones (e.g. Nokia) but is quickly loosing its market share.
  • SYNCHRONOUS - A type of two-way communication with virtually no time delay, allowing participants to respond in real time.
  • TABLET - A tablet is a fusion of laptops and smartphones, embodying the mobility of a smartphone and the workability of a PC. Tablets can be used to surf the Internet, and with an ocean of apps available they can be used for work, educational purposes, games, multimedia, etc.
  • TEXT MESSAGES  - See SMS.
  • UPLOAD - Upload is also known as uplink and means the one way connection from a device (phone, PDA, laptop computer) to a network or server (mobile phone network, internet etc.).
  • WAP 1.0 - WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is a format of mobile web that relies on WML markup language and special protocols designed for ultra-efficient transmission of content to limited devices over limited connections.
  • WAP 2.0 - WAP 2.0 is a popular format of choice for mobile web that relies on a new set of standards that are more in line with Internet standards. Using xHTML, mobile carriers, content providers and media companies can present content and functionality in more robust formats via faster wireless technologies.
  • watchOS -  WatchOS refers to the name of Apple's Operating System for the Apple Watch. Over its short history, the user interface has 'pivoted' several times as Apple learns and understands how users interact with this category of device. WatchOS is a touch based OS but is supplemented by a rotating Digital Crown that allows the user to scroll through content without their fingers obscuring the display.
  • Wear OS - >Wear OS, formally known as Android Wear, is Google's OS for smartwatchs and other wearables. Wear OS by Google works with phones running Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition) and iOS 9.3+. Wear OS supports NFC, Bluetooth, GPS and wrist Heart Rate Monitors. However, not all manufacturers choose to support all features. For more information visit wearos.google.com
  • WCDMA - WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is a high-speed 3G mobile wireless technology with the capacity to offer higher data speeds than CDMA and therefore can transmit and receive information faster and more efficiently.
  • WIDGET - A widget is a third-party lightweight web application that can be embedded in a 3G mobile phone. In Android smartphones this is a particularly visible feature in that the user can place widgets on the home-screen (e.g. a clock, weather forecast, Facebook updates).
  • WIFI- Wifi is the wireless connection you get through a local network (e.g. your Internet hub at home) rather than the mobile network (e.g. 3G connection), which requires a subscription and often has a usage limit.
  • WINDOWS MOBILE - Windows Mobile was a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft for smartphones and Pocket PCs. Launched in 2000, it was the predecessor of Windows Phone and was discontinued with the introduction of its successor in 2010.
  • WINDOWS PHONE - Windows Phone is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft, and is the successor to its Windows Mobile platform. Launched in second half of 2010, Microsoft had created a new and much neater user interface called Metro.
  • WLAN - See wifi.

Mobile phone operational:

  • answer - to take the call and speak after a phone has rung
  • answering machine -   a recording device a caller can leave a spoken message on if their call isn't answered
  • area code - a number usually of 3 digits assigned to a telephone area as in the United States and Canada
  • busy (AmE) or engaged (BrE) -    already being used, of a telephone line or number
  • busy signal (AmE) or engaged tone (BrE) -    the sound you hear if you dial a landline number that's already being used
  • call I'm sorry, but I really have to take this call.    the act of telephoning someone, or a telephone conversation
  • call -  to try to contact someone by phone, either by dialling their number or finding their name in the list of contacts on a mobile or smartphone
  • caller -   the person who calls a telephone number
  • charge or recharge -   to connect a smartphone, tablet computer, digital camera, etc. to an electricity source to add power to its battery
  • conference call -  a telephone call in which three or more people can hear and speak with one another
  • cordless phone -  a landline telephone receiver you can carry for short distances while using
  • dial -  to press numbers on a landline phone or touch numbers on a smartphone keypad to call someone
  • dialling tone (BrE) or dial tone (AmE) -    the sound a landline phone makes when you pick it up
  • hang up - to end a telephone call
  • hotspot or Wi-Fi hotspot -    a place where people can get Internet access either for free or by using a network access password
  • icon -   a graphic symbol or picture on a smartphone or computer screen that represents an application or file and opens it when touched
  • landline -   a physical telephone line, or a telephone that uses one
  • line or connection -    a telephone connection used to make a voice call
  • missed call -   a call that wasn't answered
  • mobile phone (also cell phone or feature phone) - a portable phone with a SIM card for network connections, with more features than a landline phone but fewer than a smartphone
  • pay phone or phone booth -    a public telephone that takes coins or phonecard payment for each call made
  • pick up -    to answer a landline phone by lifting the receiver
  • receiver -   the part of a landline telephone set you pick up and speak into
  • return a call or call sb back - to telephone someone who tried to telephone you
  • ring -  (of a telephone) to make the sound that tells you someone is calling
  • ringtone -    one of many sounds a smartphone can make when someone is calling
  • robocall -  an automatic call that plays a recorded message, usually to sell something or get votes in an election
  • save -    to keep a phone number, text message, e-mail or other digital data on a smartphone or computer
  • SIM card -   a small card with a microchip that's sold by a network provider and inserted into a mobile phone
  • smartphone -   a small hand-held computer with a touchscreen that can be used as a mobile phone, web browser, media player, digital camera, etc.
  • telephone directory (also directory or phone book) -    an alphabetical list (online or in a book) of people and businesses with telephone numbers
  • text message or text -  a Short Message Service (SMS) text-only message or a multimedia message (MMS) with digital images, videos, sound content, etc.
  • text verb    -   to send an SMS or other text message from a mobile phone, smartphone or computer
  • touch screen or touchscreen -    a screen that allows a smartphone, tablet computer, game console or similar device to be controlled with the touch of a finger
  • voicemail -   a system that records and stores spoken messages left by people whose phone calls aren't answered
  • Wi-Fi or WiFi -   a technology that allows smartphones, personal and tablet computers, video-game consoles, smart TVs, etc. to access a wireless local area network
  • wireless network or network -    a system of radio-frequency cell towers that transmit phone calls and other digital data within a limited service area