A-Z of Mobile Jargon for Non-Profits

Struggling to choose the right phone or contract for your organisation? Its no wonder with all the ever-changing jargon and complex terminology that comes with purchasing mobile phones and contracts. We want to make things easier for you. We have created a list of some of the common terms you might encounter – with easy explanations.

  • 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.

  • Air-Time or Talk Time

Air-time or Talk Time means the monthly allowance of minutes you’re allowed to use talking on the phone as part of your mobile phone contract.

  • Android

Android is one of the major phone operating systems which helps power your phone. This operating system is the world’s most popular and was developed by Google. It is most commonly found in Samsung, HTC and Sony phones.

  • Bluetooth

Bluetooth is technology that creates a ‘local’ wireless connection. It allows smartphone-owners to exchange data over short distances.

  • Camera Phone

This is a phone with a built-in camera that lets you take pictures and record videos. This is a common feature in most newer phone designs.

  • Cloud and Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a way of storing your music, photos and other files in a secure location online without using up your phones’ internal storage capacity. These often work across multiple devices so you can look at your photos and videos from your desktop or laptop computer.

  • Coverage

Coverage means the area where you will get mobile signal from your network. Densely populated areas like cities generally have better coverage than remote or rural areas in the UK. When you have coverage, this means your phone can connect to the network and you can use it as normal.

  • 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.

  • GPRS

GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service was the way that older phones were enabled to send and receive data at a much faster rate. A GPRS connection means the phone is always communicating with the network and can transfer data immediately.

  • Hands-Free

Hands-Free services allow you to talk without holding your phone to your head and are supported by an accessory such as an earpiece or car hands-free port. This is most commonly used for receiving and making calls while driving because using a phone will driving is illegal in the UK.

  • Instant messaging (IM)

Instant messaging (IM) means messaging services where you can talk to someone else in real time. The most common examples of this are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

  • iOS

iOS is the name of the operating system (OS) run by all Apple products including phones, Macbooks and Mac computers.

  • LCD and AMOLED

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is made up of an array of liquid crystals that are used to power modern screens. They are the most widely used form of screens on smartphones. AMOLED means Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode display and they are commonly used as screens in newer phone models. AMOLED screens are clearer than older LCD screens and use less battery power.

  • Mbps

Mbps stands for megabytes per second and is a measure of the speed of your internet connection.

  • Operating System (OS)

An operating system is the software that powers smartphones, as well as other devices such as tablets and PCs. As well as managing your phone’s resources so you can do lots of things at once, an operating system is the platform on which your phone runs apps.

Examples of operating systems are iOS (iPhone), Android and Windows.

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG)

Pay-as-you-go means you don’t have a fixed allowance on your contract and can only pay for calls, texts and data when you top up your phone.

  • Peak and Off-Peak

Peak is the time of day when the phone network is busiest. This usually is during standard UK business hours. Off-Peak times are when the network is quieter and sometimes charges during this time are lower.

  • Roaming

Roaming means you are using your phone in another country or on another network and it usually incurs a higher charge than using your phone at home. You can check your contract as this will let you know how many international countries you can use roaming in, and what charges will be added to your bill.

  • Secondary or Front-Facing Camera

This is a camera that can be found on the front of your phone rather than on the back. It is most commonly used to take pictures or videos of yourself.

  • SIM cards

SIM means Subscriber Identity Module card and it is the chip that holds your account and mobile number so it can be identified by the network. It stores all the important data associated with your account and you need one to make calls on your network. There are different sizes of SIM cards to look out for: regular SIMS, microSIMS and nano SIMs, however the size doesn’t change its function.

  • SIM only

SIM-only is a contract that only includes a SIM card and does not include a phone. Your SIM card will have a monthly usage allowance, and these are useful for customers who are looking to save on overhead costs. This means you can use your SIM with any phone you have, when you don’t need to upgrade to a newer phone.

  • SIM-free

SIM-free means you can buy a phone without a SIM card. This means your phone comes completely unlocked and you are not committed to a contract or specific mobile network. This means you can decide what SIM card to use in your new phone.

  • Smartphone

Smartphones are mobiles that are ‘smart’ and have a wide range of functions beyond just being used as a phone. They can browse the internet, use email, take pictures and video and be used for playing games. Most newer phone models can be classed as smartphones.

  • SMS

SMS means Short Message Service. SMS is the way that text messages are sent and received.

  • Streaming

Streaming is when you can enjoy audio and video over an internet connection without having to download the content to your device. You ‘stream’ the content to your phone via an internet or data connection. Examples of streaming services include Spotify, Netflix and Now-TV.

  • Top-Up

Top-Up means you can add money for calls, texts and data as you require it without being tied to a fixed rate mobile phone contract.

  • Tri-Band

Tri-Band or Triple Band phones can operate across three global system networks (GSN), which means they can be used in more than 100 countries. These are useful for customers that travel extensively or need to make calls to more remote world regions.

  • USB Cable

USB cables are used to connect smartphones via a plug to mains electricity to charge your phone. They can also be used to charge and transfer music, video and photos when connected to a desktop or laptop computer. You may notice a USB-C cable – this is a newer form of USB which make charging and data transfer ever faster.

  • Voice Commands

Voice Commands allow you to say a command and your phone will carry our your instruction using voice recognition technology. This is an increasingly common fixture and is useful when you are driving or in situations where you may not be able to hold your phone.

  • Voicemail

Your phone’s Voicemail records audio phone calls from callers when you are unable to answer the phone. This service is usually provided by your network and means you can listen to missed calls later.

  • WAP

WAP means Wireless Application Protocol and this is the way that older-generation phones could access the internet.

  • 3G, 4G and 5G

These are the different generations of wireless mobile telecommunications technology currently being used by phones. They allow your phone to connect to the internet, streaming and wireless calls.

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