Last Updated: Tuesday 27th September 2011
We often use a lot of terms here at The UK Mobile Review which our readers may not understand. So, we’ve decided to create a Jargon Buster of regularly used terms, just for our readers’ benefit!
See the list of commonly used terms below, we’ll be updating it very regularly.
One of the most commonly used terms, otherwise known as Postpaid. In essence, it is when consumers purchase sim card or devices (mobile phones, tablets, internet dongles) on a monthly contract. Usually postpaid devices are discounted in value to entice the customer into a long-term agreement.
Pay As You Go
Otherwise known as Prepaid. This is similar to postpaid, except the onus is on the consumer to pay in advance for their calls, texts and data. On pay monthly plans, you can pay for your calls at the end of the month whereas with pay as you go plans, you have to have available credit in order to use your device.
A term used to describe a company’s attempts to prevent its customers from switching at the end of their plan (usually for pay monthly customers but applies to pay as you go as well). Companies will usually try to retain customers through discounted line rental, incentives such as free devices or through beating the competition. Has a direct impact on the company’s churn rate.
One of the key indicators of a company’s performance is their churn rate; the rate at which customers leave the company. This is more to measure the company’s ability to retain its customers and stakeholders like to see a company’s churn rate decreasing; i.e. the company is successful in retaining its customers.
Stands for Near Field Communications. The up and coming NFC technology allows for the transmission of data in a quick burst between NFC chips. This essentially means that information such as data, media and even payments can be transferred quickly, easily and securely.
Fair Use Policy:
Three words that every network loves to throw in their Terms & Conditions. It usually applies to inclusive allowances that are “unlimited”; most commonly this is inclusive Data allowance, text messages and on some tariffs calls. It means that the allowance is not really unlimited but actually subject to a fair usage as determined by the network themselves.
A term that measures the Average Revenues Per User. Revenues include basic line rental, alongside ancillary charges such as bolt-ons, bundles, additional services including media messages and a whole lot more. Anything a consumer spends on will be included in the ARPU calculations. ARPU is used internally as well as externally by networks; externally, it is used to measure the performance of third-party retailers (e.g. Phones4u and Carphone Warehouse being the two biggest). Networks will often use this to determine which retailers are bringing the most valuable customers to the network and will strategically target retailers based upon their ARPU.
This is usually on a pay monthly plan but can refer to pay as you go users as well. It is a plan where it is based only around your sim card; devices are separate to the sim only and as such, monthly costs are a lot lower than on a pay monthly plan that included a device.
Networks such as Asda Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Lebara and a lot more are MVNO’s – a Mobile Virtual Network Operator. MVNO’s do not own their own network infrastructure, nor do they have their own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum. MVNO’s usually “piggy-back” off a major network’s infrastructure. For example, Lebara Mobile runs on the Vodafone UK network whilst Tesco Mobile runs on the O2 network. The network the MVNO runs on will affect the coverage on that MNVO.
Accronym for Business to Consumer. Refers to the practice of businesses selling directly to the consumer. An example of a B2C environment is a mobile phones retail store like O2 or Phones4u, where there is a direct contact with the purchaser.
Accronym for Business to Business. Where B2C refers to selling to consumers, B2B is about selling directly to businesses. For example, a company selling marketing software to corporations operates in a B2B environment as they have no direct contact with the end user of the product or service, only to the business they are selling to which acts as a middleman.
Often referred to when discussing coverage or infrastructure. The frequency is the radio band that the network uses for mobile phone coverage. The frequencies in use in the UK are 900 / 1800 mHz. Other frequencies include 800 / 1900 / 2100 mHz in use around the world.
The terms dual-band, tri-band, quad-band and pentaband are a quick method of identifying how many frequencies your device can pick up. Most phones are either tri-band or quad-band.
Stands for Global System for Mobile communications. It is the predominant global technology and is a standard in Europe, as well as being used in Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Middle East and much of Asia. US networks AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM technology.
Commonly in use in the US on networks such as Verizon Wireless (part owned by the Vodafone group), Sprint and smaller networks such as U.S. Cellular. Stands for Code Division Multiple Access. It is a channel access method used in radio technologies. CDMA networks also feature in Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, South Korea as well as other countries.
GSM AND CDMA devices cannot operate using each other’s technology; i.e. a GSM device will not work on a CDMA network and vice versa.
Some devices are referred to as World Phones as they possess the capabilities to operate on either a GSM or CDMA network through the use of both technologies. Such devices are designed to operate on any network worldwide.
Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.
Stands for Long Term Evolution. Considered to be the fourth generation of mobile communications. Sometimes referred to as 4G. LTE is mainly available in the US, with the UK set to get LTE support by 2015. Offers theoretical mobile data speeds of up to 50 times the current HSPA+ speeds.
The list will continue to grow so keep checking back regularly.