Industry Terms

Wikis > Industry Terms

This is not intended to be a technical reference, providing a term’s exhaustive meanings and implications but more of how a term is used in the mobile industry or within ROSS.

  • 2G – Second Generation mobile network. This is now synonymous with ‘antiquated network.’
  • 3G – Third Generation mobile network. What is 3G or 4G is a very gray line, and somewhat subjective.
  • 4G – Fourth Generation mobile network. What is 3G or 4G is a very gray line, and somewhat subjective.
  • Access Fee – Charge imposed by telecom provider to access their network.
  • Accessory – Something sold in relation to a mobile device. In ROSS, this can be something physical like a car charger or case, or not such as tech service, prepaid service or bill payment.
  • Addon- A service that is attached to a phone plan that is not specifically part of that plan. This could be anything from SMS or Internet usage to an insurance plan.
  • Affiliate – A company that helps a carrier expand their service area, usually by branding themselves as the carrier and adding towers to their network.
  • Airtime – Time spent using voice service.
  • Analog – Older mobile network technology. Analog signals tend to be on much lower frequencies, and thus can cover much greater areas. Analog signals are also much more tolerant of transmission loss. Because of these two attributes analog is still used in a few areas with much less population density.
  • Android – A Mobile Operating System originally developed by Google. Google advertises this as open source, which while technically true, official releases are on a very controlled (read closed) platform.
  • App – Short for Application, and in the mobile industry means a program that runs on a mobile device.
  • Bluetooth – A very low range wireless signal. This is usually used for connecting accessories such as Bluetooth Headsets to a mobile device.
  • Bolton – Another term used for *Addon
  • Brick – A mobile device that is no longer functional. Usually indicates that it can not be easily repaired.
  • Broadband – A mobile network connection that allows you to transmit multiple types of data (such as voice and internet) simultaneously.
  • Buydown – A commission paid on a physical phone when activated on a specific service.
  • Carrier – Company that provides mobile phone service.
  • CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access – One of the two major mobile Digital network technologies. In the US, primarily used by Sprint and Verizon.
  • Cellular – A technology that allows a device to maintain connection while moving by “Handing off” the signal to different towers. By some definitions Cellular is no longer accurate in the mobile industry, but it is widely used for legacy sake.
  • Clamshell Phone – A phone that opens on a hinge in which both hinged portions are roughly the same size. Not to be confused with a Flip Phone despite that many times the term is used interchangeably.
  • Clamshell – Single piece retail packaging that closes around the product from a hinged point. Usually has a hole to enable the product to be displayed on a retail hook. Usually is clear to allow the product inside to be seen.
  • Digital – Mobile network type that transmits digital signals instead of Analog. Digital networks can carry a drastically larger amount of data than Analog networks
  • Dual Band – Generally refers to a phone that can operate on multiple frequencies.
  • ESN – Electronic Serial Number – A unique number assigned to a mobile device that identifies it when connecting to a mobile network. An ESN is specifically attached to the users service. An ESN is usually expressed in decimal, but can often be found in Hexadecimal as well.
  • Flip Phone – A phone that opens on a hinge where the two hinged parts are different sizes allowing for the phone to be opened with a flipping motion. Very few true flip phones are still made, so the term can often be incorrectly used to mean Clamshell Phoine
  • Global Phone – Another term used synonymously with World Phone.
  • GPS – Global Positioning System – A technology on phones that uses satellites to determine your position on the earth. Often used with Apps for navigation or social interaction.
  • Gross Profit – Total profit made within certain requirements. Unlike most retail industries, mobile sales often take a loss on the actual Point of Sale Transaction.
  • Gross Sales – Total amount of sales with a given requirement. Often expressed in units, points or dollars.
  • GSM – Global System for Mobile Communication – One of the two major mobile Digital network technologies. In the US, primarily used by T-Mobile and AT&T.
  • Hands Free – Method to use a mobile phone without holding it to your head. Primarily a wired or wireless headset.
  • Jailbreak – To remove restrictions replaced on a mobile phone by the carrier or manufacturer. Generally refers to iOS. Root is the term generally applied to Android.
  • M2M – Machine to Machine. Communication between devices over a mobile network, not requiring the interaction of a person. Examples could be Payment Processing, equipment monitoring, inventory tracking etc.
  • Master Dealer – A company that works directly with a carrier and coordinates other companies (Sub Dealers in an indirect sales channel.
  • MEID – Mobile Equipment Identifier – A unique number assigned to a mobile device that identifies it when connecting to a mobile network. An MEID is specifically attached to the users service. An MEID is different from an ESN in that it is a global standard, and is thus unique globally. MEID is usually expressed in Hexadecimal.
  • mHZ – Megahertz – the term used to express the frequency of a wireless device or mobile network.
  • MIN – Mobile Identification Number – Ten Digit number assigned to a mobile device. This is not the same type of identifier as ESN IMEI MEID or SIM
  • MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service – The ability to send Media files (usually video or photos) between phones.
  • Mobile – A wireless technology that allows you to change locations without loosing access.
  • Mobile Hot Spot – A mobile device that allows you to share your internet connection with Wi-Fi Devices.
  • Postpaid – Agreement with a Carrier in which the user pays for service at the end of the usage term. Often requires that the user has acceptable credit thus requiring a credit check before activation.
  • Prepaid – Agreement with a Carrier in which the user pays for service in advance.
  • iDEN – Integrated Digital Enhanced Network – minor mobile network technology developed by Motorola. Primarily known for it’s built in support of both standard mobile communication and a two way radio, and used in the US primarily by Nextel.
  • IMEI – International Mobile Equipment Identity – A unique number assigned to a mobile device that identifies it when connecting to a mobile network. Unlike an ESN, an IMEI is not specifically tied to the user’s service, but instead relies on a SIM which is.
  • Indirect – A Sales channel that is not owned and operated by the Carrier themselves.
  • iOS – A Mobile Operating System developed by Apple. Used primarily in the iPhone, iPad and Touch iPod devices.
  • MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator – A mobile service provider who uses other providers’ frequencies and towers primarily, but usually exclusively.
  • QWERTY – Keyboard layout that mirrors a standard US keyboard allowing for much faster user input.
  • Roaming – Using a cellular tower that is not part of your |Carrier’s Network. Historically this could also mean using a tower that is outside of your |Carrier’s specified range for your plan as well, but this is less common these days.
  • Root – To remove restrictions replaced on a mobile device by the carrier or manufacturer. Generally refers to Android devices. Jailbreak is the term generally applied to iOS.
  • SIM – Subscriber Identity Module – A unique identifier that connects a user and their service. Unlike an ESN or MEID, a SIM is not attached to the actual equipment. Usually when used actually means SIM Number
  • SIM CARD – The physical card tthankshat a SIM is contained on.
  • SIM Number – The unique number identifying a SIM
  • Sub Dealer – An indirect agent that works under a Master Dealer instead of directly with the Carrier.
  • Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity – A standard wireless network technology, often meaning wireless internet access.
  • Wireless – A general term indicating the ability to transmit and receive information without a wired connection. When used specifically in contrast to Mobile it indicates a short range platform (such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi)
  • World Phone – A phone that can be used on international networks. US Networks generally do not follow international standards, usually in the frequency range.