1 Second (or Per Second) Billing Increments

Call costs are calculated (in part, at least) using the number of seconds,
multiplied by the billing rate. Per second billing increment phone plans
typically save approximately 5-15% compared to a 30 sec billing increment plan.

30 Second Billing Increments

Call costs are calculated (in part, at least) by finding the number of
billing increments used (in this case 30 seconds), and multiplying by the
billing rate per increment. For example: 30 second billing increment phone plans
will charge the same amount for call durations 6 sec, 14 sec, and 30 sec. They
will also charge the same for calls which are 31 sec, 44 sec and 60 seconds.

ACCC – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The ACCC is an independent body which provides general consumer protection
and competition regulation across all industries. It administers the Trade
Practices Act. The ACCC also regulates competition in the telecommunications
industry through administration of the Telecommunications Access Regime (the
ability to choose alternate providers of telecommunications services) and
regulation of anti-competitive conduct.

Access Fee

Monthly charge from a service provider for provision of that service. Call
charges are additional to this charge. Also may be referred to as a Service Fee
or Connection Fee. Distinct from a Connection Charge, which is the charge for
connection of an individual call.

ACE – Australian Communication Exchange

A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to ensuring that those who are
deaf or have a hearing, speech or communication impairment, can obtain access to
the telephone and other telecommunication networks.


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for
the regulation of broadcasting, radiocommunications, telecommunications and
online content. Incorporates the former ABA (Australian Broadcasting Authority)
and ACA (Australian Communications Authority).


Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is a form of DSL, a data
communications technology that enables faster data transmission over copper
telephone lines.

ADSL2+ – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Two

A technology for the delivery of faster ADSL. Exchanges must be ADSL2+
enabled. Speeds available start at 24000/3000 kbps and reduce with distance from
the exchange, hardware used, quality of the copper pair used, etc.


A representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organisations. Or, a
businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission. In
Australian telecommunications an agent is typically a person or company who has
a contractual agreement with a Service Provider, whereby they will obtain
commission or similar for bringing new customers to that provider.

AMPS – Analogue Mobile Phone System

The AMPS network in Australia was the first mobile phone network. This
network was subsequently replaced by digital networks, such as GSM, and is no
longer operational. Security and capacity were limiting factors of the AMPS
network. The AMPS network is sometimes referred to as the 1G Mobile network;
where 1G indicates `First Generation`.

AMTA – Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association

AMTA is an industry body representing and promoting the interests of
organisations involved in the supply and provision of mobile telecommunications
services and products. Members include: mobile phone carriers and service
providers, handset manufacturers, retail outlets and associated business such as
those that provide network equipment and specialised consultancy


The technology originally used to transmit radio (including mobile phone) and
TV communications. Superseded in many communications areas today. Digital
communications are now being used in mobile telephony and TV delivery is
broadcast using both analog and digital methods.

Area Code

Prefix added to a phone number to denote the location of that number. In
Australia, interstate calling often requires an STD area code. Follow this link
for a list of all Australian area code an prefixes.


Verification of the identity of a user to a network, or a network to the
user. Passwords, digital certificates, smart cards and biometrics can be used to
authenticate a user. In the case of mobile phones, a user may be authenticated
to the network to ensure that they are `activated` – with an account and credit
on that network. Conversely, Mobile networks may authenticate themselves to a
user`s mobile phone to ensure that the phone is locked to their network.

B2B – Business to Business

Commercial term meaning Business-to-Business commerce, as distinct from
Business-to-Consumer or Retail Business.

Backbone Network

The electronic `spine` of a telecommunications network which joins slower and
dispersed network elements. A common telecommunications backbone in Australia
carries network traffic between Melbourne and Sydney and is a private, managed
network. Telstra, Optus and AAPT all have such networks.

BAN – Billing Account Number

The account number attached to a service(s). Most often a customer will only
have a single BAN from a service provider. However, customers may elect to have
several BANs; to designate between sites, for example.


Refers to the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of
time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second
(bps) or bytes per second.

Billing Codes

These are the letters, which appear on your bill beside the calls you have
made, eg. O for off peak and P for peak.

Billing Increment

Blocks of time, usually 1 second or 30 second blocks, which are used by a
service provider to calculate the cost of a call. Example: If a mobile phone
plan states that calls are billed per 30 seconds, then calls lasting 3 sec, 14
sec and 30 sec will all be billed the same; as one 30 second billing increment.
However, a 31 sec call will be billed as two billing increments. Example: If a
mobile phone deal states that calls are to be billed in 1 second increments,
then all calls are billed per second. Typically, billing in 1 sec increments
will be approximately 5-15% cheaper than billing in 30 second


The smallest unit of information on a computer, a bit, is expressed by a 1 or
a 0. A kilobit equals 1,000 bits. A megabit, 1 million bits.


The BlackBerry from RIM Corporation, is a handheld wireless device providing
e-mail, telephone, text messaging and web browsing and other wireless data
access. In Australia, BlackBerry operates mostly on the GPRS network. However,
BlackBerry will begin operating at higher speeds as networks are


Bluetooth® complements wireless LAN perfectly by providing a quick and easy
way of connecting one Bluetooth®-enabled device to another without going through
your network. For example, you could print a document at a satellite office from
your laptop to any Bluetooth®-enabled printer within range (Bluetooth®, products
work over shorter distances than wireless networks – approximately 10 metres).
In addition, by creating a temporary network, (also known as a personal area
network – PAN) you can exchange files at informal meetings – say, around a
client`s conference table. Put simply, Bluetooth®, provides the opportunity for
flexible, spontaneous working, especially if you don`t have the time to connect
to a fixed or wireless network.


Bits per Second. A measurement of data transfer speed. Rates are the number
of bits that are transmitted per second. See also Kbps

Broadband Phone

see VoIP

Broadband telephony

see VoIP


A software application which facilitates interaction with the World Wide Web.
A browser uses HTTP to interact with Web servers online. Also called a Web


Combining any or all telecommunication services from a single provider.
Bundled offers usually confer a discount on one or more services.


A byte consists of 8 bits, the smallest unit of information on a computer,
expressed as either a 1 or a 0. The expression 01001101 is equal to one byte of
information. A kilobyte is 1,000 bytes of information. A megabyte is 1 million

Cable Broadband

Use of a fibre optic cable (the same used for pay-TV connections) to deliver
internet connections at up to 10 Mbps.

Call Barring

The barring of outgoing calls, to selected numbers or groups of numbers, may
be applied to both mobile phones and fixed services. This is a network

Call Centre

A call centre (or Call Center) is a business unit whose purpose is to handle
inbound/outbound telecommunications traffic for a company. A Contact Centre is
more highly integrated and such a unit might handle various forms of
correspondence between the company and its customers.

Call Congestion

The saturation of the available simultaneous connections on a communications
channel by users. Applies to both Fixed Lines services and Wireless services
(including Mobile services).

Call Divert

Often also called Call Forward, Call Divert is the ability to divert an
incoming call to a designated number or service. Usual call charges often apply
(however some of these charges might be reduced or removed by some Mobile
service providers). Available to both Mobile and Fixed Line services. Call
diversion products typically offer many conditional options (eg. Divert All
Calls, Divert on No Answer, Divert on Unreachable, Divert on Busy,

Call Waiting

The ability to alert the user to the presence of a second incoming call to
their current connection. The user has the option to retrieve the second call,
while maintaining their initial connection. Either party may then be
disconnected by the user, at their discretion. This feature is available for
both Fixed Services (although not all types of Fixed Services) and for Mobile

Caller ID

Also referred to as CID. This feature provides the caller`s telephone number
information whilst the call is ringing. The CID information is usually contained
between the first and second ringing tone. CID may be blocked (on landlines) by
the caller by dialling 1831 before the number, or by requesting a permanent
block from the service provider. This information is obtained by using the
relevant parts of CLI (Caller Line Identification) information.

Carriage Service Provider

Often referred to as Rebillers or Resellers of telecommunications services.
These are service providers who are not carriers themselves such as


Telecommunications Carriers are the owners/maintainers of a
telecommunications network (either Mobile or Landline). Not all
Telecommunications Providers are Telecommunications Carriers; some are resellers
of a Carrier`s network.


CDMA (code-division multiple access) refers to any of several protocols used
in so-called second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) wireless
communications. A CDMA service with Optus means that you have a handset that
uses this technology and is carried on the Telstra network. A CDMA handset may
be an option for those that do not have Optus digital coverage in their area. It
is planned to close the Australian CDMA network in January 2008 and replace it
with the Next G network.


Term to denote the switch of a customer between telecommunications service

CLI – Calling Line Identification

The provision of the calling party`s number, called party`s number, time of
call, routing information, duration and other minor information between service
providers. Often billed as CLIP – Calling Line Identification Presentation. Part
of this information may be used to provide CND (Calling Number Display) to the
called party.

CND – Calling Number Display

The display of the calling party`s number as the call is ringing. CND is
typically sent (as an inaudible signal) between the first and second dial tones
of a call. The caller may elect to have their CND information blocked on a per
call basis (by prefixing the called number by 1831) or permanently blocked
through their service provider. Also called Calling Name Display, Caller ID (or
CID) and CNI (Calling Number Identification). CLI differs from CND and the
others. See also CLI (Caller Line Identification).

Connection Fee

A one-time fee for the set up your phone service. Not to be confused with a
Flagfall, which is the connection cost of an individual call.


For Telecommunications: As communications transmission and storage has become
digitised, consolidation of various forms of communications (eg. voice, data and
video) has become a possibility. Convergence is the likely joining of two or
more communications forms into a single user product. The advantages for
consumers are: convenience and cost savings. The advantages for service
providers are: cost savings (through reduced operational expenses and capital
expenditure) and increased customer loyalty.

Copper (Wire) Network

The Australian telecommunications network mostly remains a simple copper
network. Also know as POTS (Plain Old telephone Service) This describes copper
lines connected to premises from local exchanges and then switched through other
exchanges, for ultimate delivery to another premises. Telecommunications
transmissions travel over these lines. Today, there are other methods of
telecommunications transmissions such as IP networks, satellite networks,
wireless networks (including Mobile Phone Networks).

Country Code

The dialling prefix used to reach international destinations. To access IDD
(International Direct dialling; dialling internationally without operator
assistance) the access code 0011 must be used. The format for IDD is: 0111 +
country code + area code + local phone number.

CSG – Customer Service Guarantee

A performance standard created by the ACMA. Provides financial compensation,
of a prescribed amount, to end customers who are affected by delays in service
connections and fault repairs. For a full description, with compensation amounts
and timetables, please visit our Customer Service Guarantee page.

CSP – Carriage Service Provider

Often referred to as Rebillers or Resellers of telecommunications services.
These are service providers who are not carriers themselves.

CTN – Consumers’ Telecommunications Network

Consumer and community organisation representing the interests of residential
customers throughout Australia.


The moment when a service, or element of infrastructure, is moved from one
service provider to another. See also Port, for mobile phones, and see ULL, for
fixed services.

DA – Directory Assistance

Operator-assisted (or possibly a CVR-assisted) telephone directory service
which provides the user the phone number of a residence or business. Number must
be listed in the telephone directory.


A non-broadband internet connection to an ISP. The connection is made by a
modem dialling the ISP through the traditional PSTN network.

DID – Direct In Dial

The use of a 100 InDial Range with a PABX, which allows an outside caller to
dial a phone number that will ring directly to a specific party instead of
calling a main phone number. The PABX must be programmed to assign that number
to a specific extension.


The representation of information using discrete elements called binary code.
In everyday use (especially in voice communications) digital signals are used to
represent analog information. Digital signals are useful because they can
represent analog signals, can be easily handled by computer systems and networks
(themselves, digital systems), can be compressed, and do not degrade with

Digital Subscriber Line

Use of an existing `subscriber line` (traditional phone line) to deliver
digital data at broadband speeds. The local exchange (where the copper loop
telephone line is connected) must be `enabled` with DSL technology.

Direct Dialling

Previously direct dialling was the event of dialling an intended party
without the aid of an operator. Nowadays, Direct Dialling is still commonly used
in two circumstances. IDD (International Direct Dialling) is connection to an
international destination without the aid of an operator. IDD is still in use in
vernacular because pricing structures quote IDD rates. The second common use for
Direct Dialling is for Direct In Dialling (called `Direct Dialling In` by the
Brits). Direct In Dialling is where a phone system (PABX) can recognise an
incoming dialled number, bypass the main answering point (eg. the receptionist),
and pass the call directly to the correct extension. DID usually requires a 100
number range.

Directory Assistance

Operator-assisted (or possibly a CVR-assisted) telephone directory service
which provides the user the phone number of a residence or business. Number must
be listed in the telephone directory.

DNS – Domain Name Server

A server which translates the URL of a website into its actual numeric IP
address. When a browser requests a web page, the domain name server is consulted
for the actual IP address. Humans use words to define web addresses, computers
use numeric IP addresses.

Domestic Call

A call within Australia.

Drop Out

The accidental disconnection of a phone call. Applies to both Fixed Line
services (including VoIP) and Mobile Services. VoIP users also call partially
missing words a `drop-out`.

DSLAM – Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer

Also called a Digital Subscriber Line Access Module or a Mux. This is a
hardware interface between DSL lines and a network `backbone`. DSLAMs are
located in the local exchange. DSLAMs also provide the interface for ULL supply
of voice/internet connections – these internet connections are usually faster
than normal ADSL connections.

Dual Band

Since 1993, Mobile digital networks in Australia have been built using a
frequency (or band) of 900MHz. In 2000, the three digital carriers (Optus,
Telstra, Vodafone) started to introduce a new technology, which uses a frequency
of 1800MHz. Most 1800MHz base stations are not stand-alone – they are built on
an existing 900MHz base stations. This is called a “Dual Band” base station –
because it can transmit on two different frequencies. By rolling out GSM1800
sites, we are able to provide additional capacity to customers who have a dual
band phone. The rollout of 1800 sites and cost is much less than building a
brand new site. The equipment required to operate GSM1800 is located in the same
shelters as the GSM900 equipment.

Dual Mode

The ability of a mobile handset to operate on both the analog and digital
networks; even to the extent of using the same frequency band.


The ability for both ends of a communication to send and receive data.
Telephones are a Duplex communication because both parties can talk at the same
time; 2-way radios are half-duplex because only one party can talk at any one

E-mail – Electronic Mail

Mail composed and transmitted on a computer system or network. Email is
technically merely text, but multimedia attachments often accompany it.

EAP – Extension Authentication Protocol

Designed to extend the PPP (Point to Point Protocol), the EAP incorporates
traditional passwords, token keys, digital certificates and public-key


E-mail (electronic mail) is the exchange of computer-stored messages by
telecommunication. Generally text messages, non-text files such as graphic
images and sound files can be sent as attachments. E-mail was one of the first
uses of the Internet and is still the most popular use. A large percentage of
the total traffic over the Internet is e-mail. A popular protocol for sending
e-mail is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and a popular protocol for
receiving it is POP3. Both Netscape and Microsoft include an e-mail utility with
their Web browsers.

Emergency Numbers

Telephone numbers for the Emergency Services: Police, Fire & Ambulance.
These numbers are free to call and should only be used in situations which are
life threatening or there is imminent risk to either property or the
environment. Related: 000 – Emergency, 106 – Emergency for TTY, 112 – Emergency
for Mobiles

EMR – Electromagnetic Radiation

Energy transfer in the form of electric and magnetic field fluctuations.
These waves or particles propagate through space at the speed of light.

EMS – Electromagnetic Spectrum

Term for the entire range of electromagnetic radiation types. The spectrum is
divided into seven sections; from the longest wavelengths to the shortest:
radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma ray
radiation. Mobile phones operate in the radio section.


The process of encoding data. Data is often encrypted before it is
transmitted over an unsecure medium, then decrypted at its destination using a
process or key for that purpose.

ESA – Exchange Service Area

The area serviced by a local phone exchange. These are often used when
describing 1300, 13 or 1800 number call routing.


All CDMA phones have a unique Electronic Serial Number (ESN). When you
activate the phone on the CDMA network, the ESN is linked to the CDMA service
and phone number.

ESN – Electronic Serial Number

The unique hexadecimal serial number of a CDMA phone (and previously, analog
mobile phones). The ESN is registered with a service provider as part of a
mobile`s activation process. See also IMEI.

ETC – Early Termination Charge

The amount charged by a service provider for the early termination of a
contract. For Mobiles, this is usually the number of months remaining on the
contract multiplied by the minimum monthly commitment of that contract. For
Landlines, this is often the repayment of any previously granted bonuses and the
payment of a nominated monthly amount multiplied by the remaining months of the
contract period. Also called a Cancellation Fee, Contract Cancellation Fee,
Contract Termination Charges, etc.


Ethernet is the most widely-installed local area network (LAN) protocol.
Officially, Ethernet (at up to 10Mbps) and Fast Ethernet (at up to 100Mbps) are
the two grades. Now the term Ethernet generally refers to Fast Ethernet, due to
this being the prevalent type used. Ethernet is generally transferred using
CAT-5 or CAT-5e cables (`the blue computer cables`), or over a wireless



Premises for the switching equipment which allows for connection of calls.
Switching occurs for local, STD, calls to mobiles and international calling.
Also called, Telephone Exchange.

Extended Zones Agreement

Special regional zone which allows for untimed local calls to neighboring
zones and to a community service town various community services are

External IP Address

IP address of a computer on an external network – most commonly the internet.
Computers use IP addresses to identify one another. Websites are held on
servers, and are assigned a unique IP address. Mail servers also have a unique
IP address. External IP addresses may also be called Public IP


Called a fax in common use. The digitisation of an image and then
transmission of that image. Superseded the Telex.

Fax/Data Facility

Feature of a mobile phone which allows data to be sent and received as per
fax protocols.

FaxStream Duet (brand name)

Telstra product. Duet refers to the addition of a second line which shares
the same telephone line as an existing service. Line rental for the second line
is minimal (around $6.00). Faxes may still be received while the line is busy,
and are queued at the exchange until the line is free. FaxStream Duet has become
a valuable tool for many small businesses.

FCC – Federal Communications Commission (USA)

US body for the Regulation of interstate communications: licenses, rates,
tariffs, standards, limitations, etc.

FDDI – Fibre Distributed Data Interface

A high-speed (up to 100Mbps) LAN ANSI standard for a fibre optic

FDM – Frequency Division Multiplexing

Multiplexing protocol where the available transmission frequency range is
divided into separate channels. Data is segmented and transmitted over these
various channels. Data is reconstructed at the destination.

Fibre Optic Cable

Grouped glass, plastic or hybrid fibres which are used to transmit digital
pulses of light for data transmission. High bandwidth solution which may carry
voice, video and data. Commonly called `Cable`.


Hardware and/or software designed to prevent unauthorized access to (or from)
a private network. Firewalls are commonly positioned between the internet and
all internal infrastructures (PCs, LAN, Intranet, etc.).


Is a fee that can be charged upon successful connection between a mobile and
another phone. Flagfalls vary depending on the plan.

Find me Follow me

Delivery of calls to a user through multiple numbers at the same time such as
desk phone, mobile phone and home phone simultaneously allowing the customer to
pick up the call regardless of location. Available on Telaustralia Total
Business Connect (TBC).

Follow-Me Roaming

Delivery of calls to a user through an alternate network (while that user is
out of range from their pre-selected network or whilst that user has requested
the routing). See also Roaming.

Frame Relay

Typically used for LAN to LAN data connection over distances, frame relays
are prescribed connection paths. The end user experience is a (virtual)
permanent connection between LAN sites. Frame relay is a protocol for
variable-length packet transmission of data. Designed for use as a low-noise
connection, redundant- and dark- data are not generally used, which leads to
high transmission rates. Frame relays may transmit bursts of data at up to
45Mbps. Due to its transmission burst nature, frame relays are not ideal for
transmission of continuous signals such as voice and video.

FreeCall Number

1800 Number. A FreeCall number is a Toll-Free number but with no connection
charges. The call is charged to the owner of the number. As with all toll-free
numbers, the call is routed to a nominated answering point. The answering point
itself may be dynamic; it may be dependent on time of day (TOD), caller
location, or calling traffic overflows.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol

Process for transferring files over the internet or another TCP/IP network.
FTP is also often used to describe the software interface used for transfers.
Files available to be shared are held on a server. Users may be required to
logon to the server using either a secured username and password or by an
`anonymous` logon (an unsecured and generic logon). Files may then be downloaded
from the server (or uploaded, if permitted).

Global Roaming

The ability to use a mobile phone overseas. Tri-band and Quad-band phones
allow roaming through the USA. GSM and GPRS phones will provide roaming
throughout most of the international community. CDMA phones do not (practically)
offer international roaming. Roaming charges are substantial.


GPRS stands for General Packet Radio Service, this standard allows packet
rather than circuit switch connections on cellular networks. This allows
high-speed mobile access and the ability to connect to the mobile network when
Internet access is required.


GPS is short for Global Positioning System, GPS refers to satellite-based
radio positioning systems that provide 24 hour three-dimensional position,
velocity and time information to suitably equipped users anywhere on or near the
surface of the Earth (and sometimes off the earth). GPS technology is used in a
wide range of applications, including maritime, environmental, navigational,
tracking and monitoring.


Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a federal Government initiative and is a 10%
tax on most goods and services supplied. Every business that supplies goods and
services collects GST for the Australian Tax Office. This means that the price
of their goods and services include a GST amount.


Overall, a handset is any hand-held device which is used to make and receive
phone calls. Refers to mobile phones, cordless phones or landline handsets.
However, usually refers to a mobile phone handset. Also called a mobile, cell,
cell phone or cellular phone. Cordless handsets are also called portable phones,
DECT phones (common-use language) or wireless phones. Landline handsets may
refer to a stand alone handset directly connected to a socket or to a handset
which is part of a phone system (eg. a handset connected to a PABX).

Handset Included

Mobile phone handset, which is included in the offer of a mobile phone
contract. The handset may be subsidised, free or $0. Subsidised handsets may be
bought outright or included as a monthly charge. Free handsets are free, with
`no strings attached`. $0 (called `zero-dollar`) handsets are offered at no
charge, so long as the customer remains in contract with the provider. After the
contract period is finished, a $0 handset is owned by the customer.


The ability to converse on a mobile phone without using one`s hands to hold
the handset.


Signals between two network nodes (eg. a mobile handset and a base station, a
wireless laptop and a wireless router, etc.) which precede interoperation. Often
a handshake will incorporate security authorisation.

HDSL – High Capacity Digital Subscriber Line

Symmetric DSL which usually has a slower maximum download speed than an ADSL
over the same connection. Useful for high levels of data being sent and for VoIP

HFC – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (Cable)

A description of the Cable TV and Cable Internet network in Australia.
Optical fibre is used in all exchanges and hubs, and coaxial cables run from the
hubs to customer premises.


Hotspots are public WLANs located in airports, hotels, conference centres and
other public areas across the UK and the rest of Europe. (You may have seen the
logo in your local Starbucks Coffee Shops.) When you`re within range of a
Hotspot, you can connect wirelessly to the Internet via your laptop or PDA.
Presently there are hundreds of Hotspots throughout the UK and the rest of
Europe, with many more planned for the very near future.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language

The authoring software for webpages. Web Browsers read HTML code to present
webpages as they are intended.

HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol

Protocol for the operation of the internet. Webpages consist of text, images,
etc. and HTTP is the protocol for their transfer between users and servers.

Hz – Hertz

Frequency rate measurement as cycles per second. Typically, Hz are used when
quantifying wave transmissions such as EMR (eg. light, x-rays, UV, radio
(including mobile phone transmissions), television, electrical current, etc.)
and sound.

IAP – Internet Access Provider

Wholesaler of internet bandwidth to ISPs. See ISPs (Internet Service

ICANN – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Non-profit organisation which is the worldwide central body for
administration of IP addresses and domain names used on the internet.

IDD – International Direct Dialling

Connection of a call to an international destination number without the aid
of an operator. IDD is still in common use because it is used to quote
international calling rates. IDD can be done from fixed lines or from mobiles.
Not to be confused with international roaming calls, see below.


Global standards for 3G mobile network performance, from the ITU
(International Telecommunications Union).

In-place Service

Alternately called an in-place number or an in-place line. The service may be
reconnected without a technician site visit. A service is in-place if there has
been a previous connection at the address and the line remains in-place. A phone
line with a dial tone is an in-place service, and in some cases a line without a
dial tone may be considered in-place.

Included Calls

The cost of calls, messages and other uses which the minimum monthly cost
allows. May apply to mobiles or to landline phone services. Most often, the
included calls match the minimum monthly spend. Included calls may be measured
in minutes or in dollar value.


Infrared is similar to Bluetooth in that it`s another method of peer-to-peer
networking. Here data is transmitted via radio waves across short distances from
device to device. (The range data can be sent using infrared is shorter than
with Bluetooth.) You could, for instance, send a text document to a colleague by
bringing your notebooks close together and exchanging the data via each device`s
infrared port.

Inmarsat – International Maritime Satellite Organisation

The providers of coverage for some satellite phones. This satellite network
provides coverage to 100% of Australia. Sat Phones are often kept for emergency
use in remote areas.

Interactive Services

Video, voice or data interaction over a communications channel. Inputs may be
from either party.

Intercapital Call

NDD call between any of the Australian capital cities: Adelaide, Brisbane,
Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.

Interconnection Fee

Fee charged for routing a mobile phone call to a landline.

Internal IP Address

IP address of a computer on an intranet. Computers use IP addresses to
identify one another. (Not to be confused with an External IP address.)

International Call

Calls that originate in one country and terminate in another. The call may be
either operator assisted or direct dialled (eg. IDD calls). Applies to both
mobile phones and to landlines.

International Roaming

Allows a mobile phone to be used overseas when a roaming agreement exists
between the user`s Australian mobile phone company and a mobile phone company
overseas. See also Roaming.

International Switched Transit

Process of routing a telecommunications connection between two countries
through an intermediary country.


The global network of computer networks, which provides access to millions of
resources. Information is transferred using the TCP/IP protocols. Simple user
interfaces which

Internet telephony

See VoIP


A private IP network. (Not to be confused with the internet.)

IP – Internet Protocol

Protocol for data packet transfers. Forms the basis for most networks,
including the internet. IP packets are data packets consisting of a header and
attached data. Packets are often sent using a TCP (Transfer Control Protocol) to
aid delivery. At the terminus of the data transmission, IP packets are
reassembled into the original data form.

IP Address

A numeric IP address, which often can be translated into a webpage address
(External IP Address) or a computer`s address in an intranet (Internal IP
Address). Computers use IP addresses as identifiers.

IP Telephony

See VoIP

IR – Infrared

Non-visible part of the EMS (Electromagnetic Spectrum) which can be used as a
wireless communications medium. Line-of-sight transmissions only.

ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network

Integrated services over a traditional telephone line. The line is altered at
the exchange to provide either an ISDN2 or ISDN10/20/30 connection. ISDN2, also
called BRI, is a converted single copper pair into two 64 kbps `B` channels
which may be used for voice or data. There is an additional 16kbps `D` data
signal channel created also. ISDN2 can be used to provide 2 voice lines on the
same copper pair. ISDN10/20/30, also called PRI, is a converted single copper
pair (ordinary telephone line) into thirty 64 kbps `B` channels which may be
used for voice or data. There is an additional 64kbps `D` data signal channel
created also. ISDN10/20/30 can provide 10, 20 or 30 voice channels over the same
copper line.

ISP – Internet Service Provider

Company which retails internet connections to customers. An IAP (Internet
Access Provider) wholesales bandwidth to ISPs, who in turn package and sell the
bandwidth to the end customers. ISPs have also extended their range of products,
often providing website hosting and other products.

Itemised Billing

Presentation of a phone bill on a call-by-call basis. Itemised calls show
call information such as: number called from, date of call, time of call, number
called, duration of the call, and the cost of the call. Often additional
information is supplied, such as: rate plan applied to that call, whether the
number dialled is considered OnNet, and others. Aussie Phone Brokers makes use
of this information to recalculate each phone call according to a range of plans


Interactive Voice Response – is the interface between your phone and a
computer system. It is the voice recording that asks you to select an option
when accessing such things as voicemail.


Object based programming language. Intended to replace C++. (Mentioned in
this glossary to note that Java and JavaScript are not the same thing.)


Script language which can be embedded into the HTML of a web page to add
functionality. Unlike a programming language, a script is simplified and does
not need to be compiled, the source code is embedded into the HTML of a webpage.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, JavaScript is open source and may be used without
purchasing a licence.

Junk Emails

See Spam


A popular satellite communications frequency band operating between 10-18


Local area networks are independent fixed wire networks that make up your
fixed network. Cables and wires connect each device to your servers. LANs are
the most common type of networks used, but this may not be the case for long –
wireless local area networks are becoming more popular.

LAN – Local Area Network

A network of computers within a home, office or group of buildings. Often
connected via Cat-5 cables (the `blue computer network cables`) or by local
wireless connections (eg. wireless routers).


Also called a Fixed Line service, Fixed Wire service, Wired service,
Telephone line, POTS (Plain Old telephone Service) Phone line, Land Line, CO
Line, Central Office Line and Copper Connection. These are the traditional
copper telephone connections, from an exchange (CO) to a premises. Today
landlines also describe fibre optic telephony lines. Generally speaking, a
landline is a non-wireless telephone line.

LCD – Liquid Crystal Display

A flat display used in electrical equipment. Early versions were two-toned,
but today LCDs are colour. LCDs are used on handsets; both mobile (including
PDA, etc.) and landline handsets.

LCR – Least Cost Routing

Programming of a PABX to use different lines or override codes to obtain the
best call rate for differing call types or time of day calling. For example:
When calling a mobile phone, a PABX which has been LCRed may use an alternate
(cheaper) carrier for that call. This is simply done by prefixing the dialled
number with a four digit override code. The user does not see or notice the LCR
taking place.

Leased Line

A dedicated telephone line assigned from one location to another. Set up by a
telecommunications carrier, the connection is said to be a leased line.
Typically used by businesses to connect geographically distant offices, leased
lines are more expensive than other methods available today (eg. VPNs). Leased
lines offer an inherently secure, fast and always-on connection.

LED – Light Emitting Diode

Small, bright, light source that uses very little power and does not burn
out. LEDs may emits visible, UV or IR.

LEO Satellite – Low Earth Orbit Satellite

LEO satellites are more common than GeoSats because it is cheaper to place
them in LEO and they need less powerful amplifiers for transmitting. LEO is an
orbiting height of between 200 and 2000 kms and the satellites travel at about
27,400 kmph to maintain their orbit – providing a period of orbit of around 1
hour and 30 minutes. This means that constant coverage to an area on Earth must
be provided using a network of LEO satellites. (This is unsuitable for some
communications requirements and so geostationary orbit satellites are also used
– see Geosynchronous Satellite.)

Line Display

The number of lines of text which can be displayed on a handset without
scrolling. Not to be confused with CND (Calling Number Display).

Line Rental

The fee charged by a telephone carrier for the connection to their network.
Distinct from usage charges, this fee is a flat access fee.

LMDS – Local Multipoint Distribution Service

A stationary wireless broadband link which must be operated in line-of-sight.
3-5km ranges are expected.

Local Call

Calls made between standard telephone services within the same charging zone
or to adjacent standard charging zones, and charged at a flat rate. However,
local calls from ISDN services are timed and do not have a flat charging

Local Call Access Internet

A charging arrangement that allows dial-up internet users to access their
(ISP) Internet Service Provider for the cost of a local call, irrespective of
their distance from the physical point of presence (PoP). See 019 numbers.

Local Exchange

The telephone exchange (see CO) which a standard telephone service is
physically connected to. This is usually the closest exchange, but not

Local Number Portability

The ability for a customer to retain their existing landline number when
changing service providers. This may occur in two circumstances: either the
number is retained by the carriage service provider and simply rebilled, or the
number is actually ported from one carrier to another. As with mobile number
porting, the approximate time where the number is unavailable through either of
the carriers is 15 minutes.

Long Distance

Long distance calls are also called STD calls, NDD (National Direct Dialled)
Calls or Trunk Calls. (Technically, international calls are also long distance
calls, but this is not a common use of the term.) These are domestic calls which
extend beyond local billing zones.

LOS – Line-of-Sight

Refers to a communication medium which must have an unimpeded (or nominal)
line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver.

Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

The point in a commercial building where Telstra lines enter the building and where the network connects to the internal cabling. When adding new lines to commercial premises Telstra will only connect to the MDF and the customer needs to arrange their own Phone Technician or Cabler to Jump (connect) the internal lines to the Telstra line.

Media Access Control (MAC)

The MAC address is the physical address of a device connected to a network.
This unique hardware identity can be used to allow devices access to networks
such as a wireless area network (WLAN) via an access point.

Megabits per second (Mbps)

Megabits per second (a million bits per second) is a unit used to measure the
rate of information transfer. [A bit, short for binary digit, is the smallest
unit of information a computer can hold]


The series of 019 numbers which allow national dial-up internet access at the
cost of a local call from almost anywhere in Australia.

Memory Dialling

Using the phonebook features of a phone handset to retrieve and call a
number. Speed dial is one example of this. Dialling using number recall features
is another.

Memory Effect

Loss of capacity of Ni-Cad (Nickel-Cadmium) or NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)
rechargeable battery. Recharging the battery before it is completely discharged,
or using the battery before it is completely recharged, can result in that
battery losing the ability to reach its original capacity. This effect may be
reduced through several full discharge and charging cycles. Nowadays NiCd and
NiMH batteries are not in prevalent use.

MEO (Satellite) – Medium Earth-Orbit (Satellite)

Also called ICO (Intermediate Circular Orbit), denotes satellites placed in
an orbit greater than LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and less than GEO (Geostationary
Earth Orbit). The satellites for the global navigation system GPS (Global
Positioning System) operate in MEO.

MessageBank (brand name)

Telstra product brand name for a voicemail service. For landlines: Callers
can be directed to MessageBank when their call is unanswered or if the phone is
busy. For mobiles: Callers offered by Telstra for its fixed-line customers. You
can check your messages from any phone by calling your MessageBank and entering
your secret PIN. There is a monthly fee added to your phone bill for this

MessageBank Virtual (brand name)

Telstra product. Callers may use a non-connected (virtual) number to leave

Microwave (Telecommunications)

Microwave telecommunications is the use of microwaves as a communication
medium. Microwave communications are restricted to line-of-sight only.

Minimum Call Cost

Different to a Flagfall cost, the minimum call cost is the minimum charge for
an individual call. Difference: Whilst the Flagfall is charged at the connection
of a call and then rate charges added, the minimum call cost is only applied if
the call cost does not exceed minimum amount.

Minimum Commitment

Term used to describe the total commitment amount of a contract. For early
termination of a contract, payment of the minimum commitment will often be
enforced. See also Minimum Monthly Commitment.


See Minimum Monthly Commitment

Minimum Monthly Commitment

The agreed monthly charge for available connection of a service to a network.
This minimum charge will still be applied, irrespective of usage. For instance:
A $99 Cap plan, with $700 of included calls and a minimum commitment of $70,
will cost $70 per month even when the phone is not being used. Also called a
Connection Fee, Minimum Commitment, Monthly Access Charge, Monthly Access Fee,
Monthly Connection Fee, etc.

MMDS – Multichannel Multipoint Distribution System

Wireless broadband alternative to the local loop (traditional copper
connections) and permits a high bandwidth traffics up to 10 Mbps.

MMS – Multimedia Message Service

An EMS (Electronic Messaging System) used to deliver text, images, sounds and
limited video to mobile handsets. Platform built to expand SMSs.

MNP – Mobile Number Portability

The ability for a customer to retain their existing mobile number when
changing mobile service providers. Mobile numbers are assigned to SIM cards and
a mobile number port occurs like this: Usually a new SIM is issued, with a
temporary mobile number imprinted on it. Then, when `the port` happens, the
existing number is written over the new SIM`s temporary number and the old SIM
is left inactive. During the mobile number porting, the mobile number is
unreachable through either carrier for approximately 15 minutes.

Mobile Coverage

The locations in which a user can connect to and use a mobile service from a
nominated mobile phone network. The Australian carriers all supply generalised
Coverage Maps of their coverage areas.

Mobile to Mobile Call

A call type denoting a domestic call made from one mobile to another. For the
purposes of billing, call rates between mobiles are often charged at a different
rate to other call types. (Sometimes mobile to mobile call rates are segregated
further; according to OnNet calls and OffNet calls.)


Amalgamating the terms: MOdulator and DEModulator, a Modem is a hardware
device used to convert communications signals between analog and digital, or to
modify digital signals between two parts of a network. Modems are commonly used
to connect a PC to the internet.

Monophonic Ringtones

Simplistic ringtones which are made up of monophonic beeps. Monophonic means:
Capable of producing only one note at a time.

Monthly Access Fee

A set fee paid for available connection to a network. May apply to both
mobiles (see Minimum Monthly Spend) and landline connections (see Line Rental).
Separate to usage charges.

MSD – Mass Service Disruption

Occurs when normal operations of a carriage service provider are
significantly disrupted by circumstances beyond that carrier’s control.


Mobile Service Number- the number associated with your phone and account.

MTSO – Mobile Telephone Switching Office

The CO (Central Office) that controls the activities in a mobile phone
network. A computerised system which maintains mobile calls, defines the current
base-station for all its mobile devices, coordinates handoffs, notes drop-outs
and provides billing information.


Method used to transmit data from several sources along a single
communications path, and be able to retrieve the intact information from any
point along the path also.

MVNO – Mobile Virtual Network Operator

Distinct from a mobile service provider who acts as a reseller of mobile
network services, a MNVO buys wholesale capacity from a mobile network carrier
and retails its own services. Telaustralia acts as an MVNO.

NAP – Network Access Point

Internet infrastructure element where IAPs connect to other IAPs, or where
IAPs connect to their ISPs. NAPs are major connection nodes of the internet.
Often a point of congestion, an efficient NAP leads to a faster service.


As compared to Broadband, which uses a broad bandwidth for signal
transmission, Narrowband uses a much narrower bandwidth and is therefore unable
to carry information at broadband rates.

National Broadband Strategy

Policy framework for broadband development in Australia, agreed by all levels
of government. Overseen by the National Broadband Strategy Implementation

NDD – National Direct Dialling

Term used for both landline calls and mobile calls. Landline: See STD.
Mobiles: Any call to a domestic fixed line which is not a service number or
premium number.

Neighbourhood Call

Subset of Local Calls, a neighbourhood call was made within a local exchange
area and was cheaper than a standard local call.


NetAlert is a not-for-profit internet safety advisory body established in
late 1999 by the Australian government to provide independent advice and
education on managing access to online content.


Telecommunications: Network is a telecommunications connections
infrastructure which enables telecommunications between two or more devices.
Computers: Network is a data communications connections infrastructure between
three or more computers.

New Service

Mobiles: New Service is the connection of a new mobile phone to a network,
with a new number applied. Porting of a service to a new carrier is not
considered a new service.

Landlines: New Service is the new connection
between a customer`s premises and the local exchange. Activating an in-place
number is not considered a new service even though that customer may be new. A
new service will involve at least some physical work between premises and
exchange. Sometimes a new service will involve trenching a new group of copper
lines onto the premises site.

No Answer Transfer

Diversion of an unanswered call to another number or a message service. The
number of rings before a call diverts can be set by the service provider. See
also Call Divert.

No Service

A mobile phone which is out of range of its service provider`s coverage area
(and any associated roaming service providers` coverage areas also) is said to
be in a No Service area. Remote regional areas are No Service areas for most
providers. See also Coverage Maps, for No Service areas from each mobile

Nominated Carrier

A carrier in respect of whom a nominated career declaration is in force under
section 81 Telecommunications Act 1997.

NRF – Network Reliability Framework

Each USO provider is required to report regularly to the ACMA (incorporates
the former the ACA) on the performance of its network at a the FSA, ESA and
individual phone services level. The ACMA may issue directions requiring the USO
provider to remedy individual services.

NRS – National Relay Service

A telephone access service for communications to or from hearing or speech
impaired individuals. Relay may be through a live operator or through direct
means such as TTY services. See also ACE.

Number Portability

The ability for a customer to retain their existing phone number when
changing service providers. Term applies to both Local Number Portability and
Mobile Number Portability.

NUSC – Net Universal Service Cost

Retrievable cost of a carrier providing access to the standard telephone
service and payphones. The carrier is required to submit a claim to the ACA (now
ACMA) for these NUSCs in order to be reimbursed. The calculations examine
operating and capital costs (including the opportunity cost of capital) for the
loss-making services, less any revenue received for those services.

Off Peak Rate

Rate plan feature from Service Providers. Off Peak rates are discounted rates
designed to encourage the use of a service provider`s communications services at
a time which is convenient to them – their off-peak traffic times. Off Peak
times are generally nighttimes and weekends. See also Economy Rates.

One-way Satellite

Internet connection using a satellite download link and a landline for the
upload link. Often used in conjunction with the an ISDN2 connection to provide a
64kbps or 128kbps upload link. This connection has generally become superseded
in regional areas, with the introduction of the Two-way Satellite connections
(offering 256kbps uploads, for example, without the monthly connection

Online Access Centres

Public areas which provide user internet access, with user equipment
supplied. Libraries are a good example of an Online Access Centre.

OnNet Calls

Phone calls which are made between users of the same network. For example:
Calls between Optus mobiles are OnNet, but a call from an Optus mobile to a
Vodafone mobile are OffNet. Also called Same Network Calls, or branded (eg.
Virgin2Virgin Calling). Calls within the same account are OnNet calls, but are
called Intra-Account Calls.

Optical Fibre

Glass, plastic or hybrid fibres which are used to transmit digital pulses of
light for data transmission. High bandwidth, high integrity (low data loss)
solution which is used carry voice, video and data signals.

OPX – Off Premises Extension

An extension which is located remotely from a PABX. OPX was an expensive
service offered by service providers and was little used in the past. OPX is
gaining great interest with the introduction of IP telephony and VoIP. OPX
allows secondary office phones (and employees at home) to use their handset as
though they are connected to the PABX. Extension dialling, call transfers, etc.
become available with OPX.

Outbound Call

Telephone call to an external party.

Override Codes

Each Australian service provider has its own four digit override code. Calls
to domestic or international destinations may be made through a provider by
dialling their code before the required number. Override codes may be used on a
call-by-call basis. (The user should also have an account with that provider,
otherwise the call may be blocked.) Pre-programming a PABX to use override codes
for certain call types is one form of LCR (Least Cost Routing).

PABX – Private Automatic Branch Exchange

A phone system which allows not only onsite/offsite connections (eg. incoming
and outgoing calls) but also onsite/onsite connections (eg. calls to extensions,
call transfers, etc.). A PABX (sometimes called a PBX) is the actual phone
system box. The handsets are the extensions. Common features of a PABX are:
extension dialling, call transfer, call holding, conference calling, DID (Direct
In Dialling), CND (Calling Number Display) overwriting, CID (Caller ID)
pass-through, and LCR (Least Cost Routing). PABXs superseded KTSs (Key Telephone

Packet Networks

Usually IP networks, data travels over the communications links as data
packets. This enables links to be shared (carrying packets from multiple
sources). IP networks can often show reduced network (switching) errors, but may
introduce delays to packets when the communications channels are congested.

Packet Protocols

These protocols, of which the IP is the most common, are rules for formatting
the breakdown of data into discrete packages, called packets. A data packet is
composed of a header and a small part of the data. The header is generated by
the protocol and contains the address of the packet`s destination. Packet
switching is very efficient because at each stage of routing only the address
(or part of the address) is read and not the entire data packet. (A useful
analogy is a mail sorting room: the letter (data) is not read, just the relevant
part of the address.) Because packets all have an address, they may be sent via
any available communications channel and data from multiple sources may be sent
via the same communications channel. This is another efficiency gain.

Packet Switching

The act of routing a data packet and also deciding Most commonly, the act of
routing IP packets through the internet. Packet switching not only includes the
act of redirection of each packet, but also manages the decision making of each
routing node.


Mobile Technology: Largely superseded technology whereby a wireless device
could receive text messages to a small device called a pager. SMS allows two-way
text messaging, and has largely replaced Paging. Additional feature of some PABX
systems which allows

PBX – Private Branch Exchange


PCS – Personal Communication Services

Early version of PDAs. See PDA.


A small mobile hand-held device that provides computing and information
storage and retrieval capabilities for personal or business use, often for
keeping schedule calendars and address book information handy.

PDA – Personal Digital Assistant

Hand-held mobile device which not only acts as a mobile phone, but may also
have features such as: email capable, organiser, diary, web enabled (either
through WAP or HTML), SMS capable, etc. PDAs use QWERTY keyboards or other.

Peak Period

The times of day and days of the week, when communications traffic is
expected to be high, when compared with other times.

Peak Rates

Rates applied during Peak Periods. Normal rate plan pricing from Service
Providers. Peak rates are only implicitly referred to through the use of terms
such as Off Peak and Economy rates.

PGS – Pair Gain System

Use of a system (often involving multiplexors) which use less copper pairs
than other systems to create the same telecommunications capacity. For instance,
some pair gain systems are capable of delivering 45 phone lines over one copper
pair – in theory, there is a gain of 44 pairs available for other use. Pair gain
systems are extremely useful where buildings have no more available copper

Phone Card

Typically this is a prepaid charge card, which allows calls to be made from
most Landline services. Also called a Calling Card. Distinct from a TeleCard,
which is not prepaid and will be billed back to the selected fixed service

Phone Plan

The agreed service provided to a mobile or landline subscriber. Includes call
rates, monthly access fees, included calls and special offers.

PING – Packet Internet Groper

Utility for testing if a particular network destination is available on a
network connection. It sends an ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) echo
request and waits for a response. PING tests are commonly used to debug network
connections. (A convenient analogy is from submarine use; where a submarine
might send a sonar pulse (a ping) towards a target and wait for an echo. A sonar
echo provides targeting information.)


Amalgamating the terms Pictures (PIX) and Element (EL). Images and video may
be digitised and the smallest element is called a Pixel. Image resolution is
defined as Pixels per inch.

Plan Type (Mobile Phone)

Defined by billing method, Plan Types is a common usage term. Plans may be
Prepaid or Post-paid. Prepaid mobile phone plans typically are casual plans,
with higher rates and credit must be paid up-front. Buying of mobile usage
credit can be done with credit card or cash: online, in shops or over the phone.
Post-paid mobile accounts are typically mobile phone accounts under contract,
with lower rates and are paid on invoicing of usage. Post-paid plans may be paid
by direct debit, credit card or ‘on account’.

Polyphonic Ringtones

Incoming call alert (also used for incoming SMS and email alerts) polyphonic
ringtones produce a more `natural` sound than their predecessor monophonic
ringtones. Polyphonic ringtones (often use MIDI files to) produce up to 24
simultaneous notes. This blending of notes creates a more natural sound.

POP – Point Of Presence

Landlines: Location where a carrier provides connection into a local
exchange. Often in use in Australia, where Telstra commonly provides the Last
Mile connection (from the premises to the exchange) but another provider carries
the communications from the local exchange.

Internet Connection: Location
where a carrier provides connection into a local exchange. A PoP for dial-up
internet is described as a connection which is available within a local call
area. (See also MegaPoPs.) For broadband, a PoP is defined as a network node,
which is available in the local exchange.

POP – Post Office Protocol

Email term to denote the protocol for the retrieval of email from a server.
POP3 denotes POP version three. See also IMAP – another email retrieval

Post-paid Mobile Phone Contracts

Post-paid mobile phone contracts are typically mobile phone accounts under
contract, with lower rates than their prepaid counterparts, and are paid on
invoicing of usage. Post-paid plans may be paid by direct debit, credit card or
`on account`. On account means payment is not automated, but rather is invoiced
for payment.

POTS – Plain Old Telephone Service

Traditional switched telephone system using copper lines.

PPP – Point to Point Protocol

Protocol for connection to a TCP/IP network. The internet is a TCP/IP

PPTP – Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol

Early protocol for creation of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Flawed
security. Extended by introduction of L2TP, which incorporated Microsoft`s PPTP
and Cisco`s L2FA technology.

PRA – Primary Rate Access for ISDN

See PRI.

Predictive Text

A mobile handset feature which selects the possible words from the
combination of keystrokes used. Alternatives may then be picked until the
correct word is found. Example: When typing EARN, the keystrokes would be 3276,
and the suggested word for those keystrokes may be FARM, then by scrolling
through alternative words which use those keystrokes EARN can be selected. Most
words are automatically suggested correctly the first time, which dramatically
decreases the time needed to type a text message.

Prepaid Mobile Phone Contracts

Prepaid mobile phone plans typically are casual plans, with higher rates and
credit must be paid up-front. Buying of mobile usage credit can be done with
credit card or cash: online, in shops or over the phone. (Technically, Prepaid
is a contract. It is merely a rolling contract per month and the only penalty
for leaving early might be the loss of remaining credits.) See also Post-paid
Mobile Contracts.


The routing of domestic long distance calls, calls to mobiles and
international calls through a default (preselected) service provider. Alternate
providers may be selected on a call-by-call basis, through use of override
codes. Often a customer will nominate their preselected service provider to also
bill their local calls and service charges, called Rebilling.

PRI – Primary Rate Interface

Also called ISDN10/20/30, this is a conversion of a single copper pair
(ordinary telephone line) into thirty 64 kbps `B` channels which may be used for
voice or data. There is an additional 64kbps `D` data signal channel created

Priority Assistance Service

Service specification designed to ensure that persons diagnosed with
life-threatening medical conditions, who depend on a reliable home telephone
service, are able to call for assistance when needed. The timeframes for
connecting a service or repairing a fault for a priority assistance customer is
24 hours in urban and rural areas and 48 hours in remote areas. Telstra, AAPT
and Primus offer priority assistance services.

Private Network

Network which is not accessible to unauthorised persons. An example of a
private network is a company intranet, where users may access external networks
(including the internet) but external users cannot access the company’s

Protocol (Communications)

The rules which define communications formats. Without proper formatting,
communications between computer systems would be meaningless.

Provisioning (Telecommunications Services)

Providing a telecommunications service to a customer upon request.
Provisioning includes ordering, authorisation and implementation.

Proxy Servers

Server placed between a ‘client’ and a web server and represents itself to
each end as being the other. It can be used in two ways. For the web server it
can cache frequently accessed pages to reduce the web-server`s traffic. For
security of the LAN clients it can present a single IP address to the Internet
and prevent direct access to the rest of the LAN. [MicroUK]

PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network

Traditional switched telephone system using copper lines. PSTN services are
used worldwide. Twisted pairs of copper telephone lines are connected from the
customer premises to the local exchange. (These are also called local loops.) At
the exchange the communications are electronically switched, in accordance with
their destination. The network of these physical and switched connections are
collectively called the Public Switched Telephone Network.

Public Telephone

Also called Payphones, they are publicly available telephones which accept
coins, debit cards or credit cards, and can be used for calling domestically and
internationally. Call rates are high, compared to other telephones.


SIM Cards have a number of security features to prevent unauthorised use. One
of these is the requirement to enter a PIN code (if enabled) into a phone when
it is turned on. The PIN number is determined and set by the user of the SIM and
only persons provided the PIN number are able to access the SIM. If the PIN code
is entered incorrectly three times in succession, the phone will display “Enter
PUK Code” or “SIM Blocked”. The PUK (Personal Unblocking Key) Code is required
to unblock the SIM to allow use. Each SIM has a unique 8 Digit PUK code.

PUK – Personal Unblocking Key

Also called a Pin Unblocking Key. An 8-10 digit code used to unblock a SIM
card which has been blocked. Service providers retain records of PUK codes.

Pulse Dialling

The conversion of keystrokes on the handset into discrete pulses which
represent dialled numbers. The direct current is interrupted for a certain
number of intervals in accordance with the dialled number. This allows the
carrier`s switching centre to connect the call to the chosen number. Pulse
dialling has been superseded by tone dialling for efficiency reasons.

Push to Talk

A fad technology, now passed in Australia. Allowed a users handset to be used
as a 2-way radio with other compatible handsets. Talking was half-duplex:
listening or talking, not both. (Mobiles and telephones are full-duplex:
allowing talking and listening.) Superseded technology due to the availability
of free intra account calling and free OnNet calling.

QOS – Quality of Service (General)

The service quality of a carrier`s network, including fault rates, connection
times and call centre response times.

QoS – Quality of Service (VoIP)

Generally, QoS in VoIP refers to the quality of a call connection, when
compared to a traditional service. QoS is also a feature of modems and routers
which enables IP traffic to be prioritised. Voice IP traffic is prioritised
above all else, to reduce delays in the voice signals. A QoS router will greatly
increase the quality of VoIP calls through an internal network. See VoIP

QWERTY (Keyboard)

An english language keyboard (QWERTY are the first 6 letters on an english
language keyboard). PDAs and other compact electronic devices often advertise
whether they have a QWERTY keypad (QWERTY keyboard) as a feature, or use another

Rebill Service

A telephone service provider takes over the collection and billing of
services which they do not own or lease. Landlines: Where the service provider
does not own or maintain the connection to the premises, rebill items are
typically phone line rental and local call costs. Billable items, where the
service may be typically owned or leased are: STD calls (long distance calls,
NDD calls), Calls to Mobiles, and International Calls. Mobiles: Where the
service provider is not a mobile carrier, rebill items are all charges which are
not usage charges.

Regional Call

STD call (also called NDD – National Direct Dialled), which is not an
intercapital call. Regional call rates and intercapital call rates have been
phased out of common use, in favour of a single rate for any STD call.

Regional Connect

One-way satellite broadband download link with an ISDN2 landline upload link.
Capacities of upload speeds are being superseded by use of two-way satellite

Regional Mobile Phone Program

Former government program aimed at providing greater access to affordable
mobile telecommunications in areas without terrestrial services. Begun in 2001,
ended 2004 or earlier.

Residential Customer

Telephone user who is not a business customer.

Residential Phone Lines

A residential premises typically has only two phone lines installed. More
phone lines may be installed at the cost of the customer.

RF – Radio Frequency (Telecommunications)

Wireless communication technology using the radio band of the EMS
(Electromagnetic Spectrum).


Sound alert to signal an incoming alert or message. See also Monophonic
Ringtones and Polyphonic Ringtones. Not to be confused with a Ringing Tone,


Roaming refers to the ability of a wireless user to move freely, or “roam”,
within a building, campus or large complex while maintaining an unbroken
wireless connection to the wireless local are network (WLAN). This is achieved
by using a number of strategically positioned access points. As a user moves
beyond the range of one access point, they are automatically handed over to the
next one.

Roaming Agreement

The agreement between two wireless carriers. The agreement defines roaming
service capabilities and the charging structure for roaming service.


Device which directs data packet transfers along its available network paths.
It examines the destination of a data packet and determines the most appropriate
network point to which a data packet should be sent next. Determination of the
best routing path is aided by network information received and stored by the
router. A router may be a hardware or software (less common) device.


Recorded voice announcement- this is a pre-recorded announcement on the
network indicating customers options, for example “telcoinabox regrets the
number you have dialled is not contactable” “You cannot make outgoing calls.
Please purchase a re-charge card and Dial 555” (Ding Dong) That number is not

Satellite (Telecommunications)

Communications platform in orbit around the earth. These satellites send and
receive communications signals. Satellites are very useful for their enormous
coverage capabilities. There are three types, found at various heights above the
earth: LEO (Low Earth Orbit, MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) and GEO (Geosynchronous
Earth Orbit).

Satellite Broadband

Internet connection using a satellite communications link. Two-way satellite
broadband uses a satellite download link and upload link. One-way satellite
broadband uses a satellite download link and a landline upload link (usually an
ISDN2). Satellite broadband setup charges and running costs were subsidised in
regional and rural areas through the HiBIS scheme, and are now subsidised using
the Broadband Connect scheme.

Satellite Mobile Phones

Mobile phones which operate from satellites rather than land-based base
stations. Coverage in remote areas is the primary use of these services, since
usage costs are typically considered expensive. Also called Sat Phones. Sat
Phones are often kept for emergency use in remote areas.

Screen Display Area (Mobile Handsets)

The size of the mobile phone or PDA handset`s screen area.


Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) is a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
The main difference between ADSL and SDSL is that SDSL has the same upstream
data transfer rate as downstream (symmetrical), whereas ADSL always has smaller
upstream bandwidth (asymmetrical).

SDSL – Single-Line Digital Subscriber Line

Also called Symmetric DSL. Download and upload speeds match, unlike ADSL.
Operation is over a single copper pair, like ADSL, unlike HDSL. Traditional
voice communications are unavailable, unlike ADSL, but SDSL is becoming popular
for VoIP communications.


Computer hardware and software combined to `serve` information requests to
its clients (PCs). Information might be data, files, emails, webpages, or other
network services from client computers.

Service Address

The physical address where the services are connected. A Billing Address may
differ from the service address.

Service Fee

Monthly charge from a provider for provision of service. Call charges are
additional to this charge. See also Access Fee.

Service Plan

The contract between a mobile service provider and customer. The `service`
being supplied is connection and access to a telecommunications network. The
service plan should describe all rates, charges and fees.

Service Provider

A company which provides telecommunications connection and service to a
customer. The telecommunications service provider may be the actual carrier or a
reseller of those services.

SFOA – Standard Form of Agreement

Prescribed terms and conditions which accompany a telecommunications service
offer. Contains details of the service provider`s required conduct and a
customer`s rights and obligations.

SIM card – Subscriber Identity Module card

A SmartCard used (for mobile phones) to hold GSM encrypted security
information and user information. The card holds the user`s phone number, PIN
number, some or all phonebook contents and SMSs.


Switching telecommunications service provider without the customer`s
knowledge or permission. This action is reversible and has been largely
curtailed in Australia.

Smart Numbers

A government-run distribution portal for 1800, 13 or 1300 numbers. Often a
smart number spells a mnemonic word. (eg. 1800-746-637 spells 1800-PHONES). Here
are some websites which allow conversions of numbers into possible words:

Smart Ring (brand name)

Telstra product which enables landlines to have up to three distinct
ringtones. By nominating up to 15 numbers per ring tone, customers can know
which group a caller belongs to.

SMS – Short Message Service

Communication of alphanumeric text messages from one mobile handset to
another. (PC-to-SMS and email-to-SMS services are also available.)

SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol TCP/IP based protocol used to transfer
e-mail messages over the internet. Often messages are finally retrieved from an
email server using either POP or IMAP, because SMTP is not efficient at queuing

SOHO – Small Office, Home Office

Denotes a business run from a home or small office.


Unsolicited, bulk e-mails (or SMS messages). Also called Junk Emails.

Speed Dialling

Feature of a handset which dials a preprogrammed number automatically. Some
handsets activate speed dial by use of a unique button on the handset, others
use the prolonged holding of a button as their speed dial activation. Speed
dialling is most often used for calling frequently used numbers. Emergency
numbers may also be useful.

SSC – Spread Spectrum

Telecommunications technique which segments a signal, sends the components
over multiple frequencies, and then re-assembles the signal at the destination.
Allows for higher data transmission rates and increased security

Standard Charging Zone

The STD zone defined by a group of telephone numbers, for call charging
purposes, that are not in an extended charging zone.

Standard Rental Telephone

Rental charge for the provision of a handset. This is usually $2.95 per
month. Higher rentals are often charged for a handset which is CND enabled (eg.
with a digital display).

Standby Time

Often used when describing mobile handsets and cordless handsets. This is the
time a handset battery can maintain a standby status – without active use
(making and receiving calls, accessing phonebooks, etc.).

STD Call – Subscriber Trunk Dialling Call

Direct-dialled long distance call. Also called NDD (National Direct Dialled)


Method of encoding and sending data such that it can be processed as a
continuous stream. Streaming is used especially over the internet, where audio
and video files may be played without the need to download the file fully first.
Instead, the download can proceed while the file is being viewed.

Subscriber Line

The copper lines between a customer premises and the local exchange. A
Subscriber Loop describes the same. These lines are also called `twisted copper
pairs` and can be thought of as a copper `loop` – one line to the premises and
another line back to the exchange. Other names are PSTN line, telephone line,
copper pair, standard telephone service line, POTS, etc.


See Slamming

Switch (Telecommunications)

Selects communication channels between users. Switches are faster than
Routers (which are more autonomous). Electronic switches are used in telephone
exchanges – hence the term PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).


A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of 1.544Mbits per second;
consisting of 24 channels, operating at 64Kbits per second. Each channel can
carry voice or data traffic.

Talk Time

Often used when describing mobile handsets and cordless handsets. This is the
time a handset battery can maintain an active status (making and receiving
calls, accessing phonebooks, etc.).


Total Business Connect

TCP – Transfer Control Protocol

IP controls the data, TCP organises the transmission of the data and its
assembly at the destination. Together TCP/IP control the movement of data across
the internet.

TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access)

Splitting of customers` communications into varied frequencies and into
different timeslots. Multiplexing of multiple signals onto a single channel on a
single frequency. Used for GSM and some CDMA technologies.


Amalgamating the terms: TELephone and COmpany, a Telco is a
telecommunications service provider or wholesaler. To operate in Australia, a
telecommunications company must be registered with the TIO as a
telecommunications provider. As of 2007, there are over 300 registered telephony
providers and 800 ISPs.


Phone call where three or more parties are connected by a audio
telecommunications link. Also called Conference Calls. (Videoconferencing is
sometimes called teleconferencing, but is defined separately here for

Termination Fee

Fee applicable when a party to a contract terminates that contract. Generally
this is the outstanding minimum amount agreed to in the contract. Usually this
means the minimum monthly commitment multiplied by the remaining months, but
sometimes an additional fee is nominated in the contract also. Also called a
cancellation fee or a contract cancellation fee.

TIO – Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

Independent body for complaint resolution and arbitration from customers of
telecommunications service providers. The TIO also manages complaints relating
to some ACIF Codes.

TISSC – Telephone Information Services Standards Council

Independent regulatory body which applies a Code of Practice to 190 premium
rate service numbers and the industry surrounding them. See their website: for more information. Or call the complaints hotline on: 1300
139 955.

TOD (Time of Day) Routing

Routing of incoming calls to selected destinations based on the current time
of day. Most often used by call centres to direct call traffic according to
economic reasoning.

Toll Calling Charges (Landline)

Charges beyond any Flagfall, connection fee or minimum call charges. These
are usually per minute charges, billed in 1 second increments. The Toll is the
charge applied according to the duration of the call. See also


Toll-Free Calling Area

Local charging zone. Calls are toll-free because they have no charge in
accordance with the duration of the call. See also, Toll Calling Charges,

Toll-Free Services

13, 1300 and 1800 services. They are defined as toll-free because the caller
is not charged dependent on the duration of the call. 13 and 1300 numbers do
attract a Flagfall charge, but no toll. 1800 numbers do not attract any charges
and are sometimes called Freecall Numbers.

Tone Dialling

Also called DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency), is the conversion of keystrokes
on the handset into discrete tones; one tone for each number dialled. This
allows the carrier`s switching centre to connect the call to the chosen number.
DTMF can also be used to interact with telephone systems such as telephone
banking. Tone dialling has superseded Pulse dialling because it is more
efficient and user friendly.

Total Cost of Contract

Minimum cost of a contract. Minimum monthly commitment multiplied by the
remaining months. This amount does not include any additional penalties which
may arise from early termination of the contract. See also

Early Termination

Touch Tone Phone

Tone dialling handset. See tone dialling, above.

Traffic (Telecommunications)

Amount of data or voice signals travelling through a communications channel
at one time.


Transfer of a communications signal from one point to another.

Trenching (Telecommunications)

Digging a narrow trench from the street (or pit) to a premises, to allow
placement of phone lines or optic fibre. If a customer (especially a customer
using residential premises) needs more phone lines into their premises, they may
be asked to pay the costs of trenching. Notes: The customer also takes on the
responsibility of informing the Telco when the trench is ready to accept the new
lines, and the customer may take on the responsibility of backfilling the trench
after placement of the new phone lines. It is important to note that the company
who provides the trenching service is not affiliated with the telecommunications
carrier, and that the customer is responsible for coordination between the

Trunk Dialling

Typical term for STD calling. The term trunk is used here to denote that the
call has gone over a long distance line (between exchanges) before being

Trunk Network

The main connections between exchanges. Previous usage was intended to denote
connections between exchanges which are located a long way apart – giving rise
to the term STD, which denotes a long distance call.

TTY – Teletypewriter

Equipment used for communication with people who are deaf or who have a
hearing, speech or communication impairment. A device, which attaches to a
telephone handset, allowing deaf people to communicate by typing messages to
each other. Also called a TDD.

Twisted Pairs

Twisted copper pairs (or Copper Pairs) are the physical connections of PSTN
lines, between premises and exchange. Subsequent to this, ISDN2 (BRI), ISDN
10/20/30 (PRI) and ULLs all use a single copper pair for transport of signal.
Also called a Subscriber Line or Local Loop.

Two-way Satellite

Internet connection using a satellite for both the download and upload

ULL – Unconditioned Local Loop

A dedicated copper pair from the MDF at the customer`s premises to a MUX, or
similar, in the local exchange.

UMTS – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System

Alternate name for 3G services. (The transmission standard is WCDMA.)

Untimed Local Calls

A call to a `local` number (by definition, contained within the same area
code or billing area), which is charged at a flat rate. Calls over the PSTN
network are untimed local calls. (The introduction of ISDN services by Telstra
allows for charging of local calls on those services.)


Network connection terminology used to represent a link to a higher part of a

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply

A UPS is used as a backup supply of AC voltage. These discretionary supplies
are most often used only for essential services. (DC battery supplies are
commonly used in telephone systems.)

USB / USB 2.0

Short for Universal Serial Bus [connect the computer to external memory and
peripherals], a USB is an external bus standard that allows the transfer of data
at rates up to 12 Mbits per second and USB2 480Mbits per second. A USB port is
used to connect peripheral devices, such as mice, printers and keyboards among
others, to your computer.USB is an external interface standard, or connector,
for communication between a computer and external peripherals and devices. USB
is intended to replace existing serial ports, parallel ports, keyboard and
monitor connectors and can be used with keyboards, mice, monitors, printers and
removable hard drives. USB works at 1.5 and 12 Mbps (Megabits per second) with
specific consideration for low cost peripherals. USB 2.0, sometimes referred to
as `Hi-Speed USB`, is a much faster enhanced version – working at 480 Mbps.

USO – Universal Service Obligation

The obligation under the Telecommunications Act 1999 to ensure that standard
telephone services, payphones and prescribed carriage services are reasonably
accessible to all Australians on an equitable basis, wherever they reside or
carry on business.

USP – Universal Service Provider

A carrier or Carriage Service Provider responsible for fulfilling the
Universal Service Obligation (USO).


Telecommunications where three or more parties are connected by a video
telecommunications link. Also called a Video Conference. (Videoconferencing is
sometimes called teleconferencing, but is defined separately here for

VoDSL – Voice Over DSL

Provision of voice communications over a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
connection. Sometimes referred to as `Direct Connection` to a service provider`s
network, via use of a ULL. Typically this connection can also supply a
high-speed internet connection simultaneously.

Voice over Broadband

See VoIP


A recorded message service where callers may be diverted. The caller is
charged as though they are connected to the number called. For mobile services,
the called party may also be charged. (See also Message Bank.) For landlines,
voice mail may be provided by the service provider as a virtual service, through
a PABX voicemail facility, or through an answering machine. For mobiles,
voicemail is applied by the service provider or the carrier.

Voicemail Box

Part of the voicemail system where a users messages are kept and managed.
This may refer to a PABX voicemail system or to a mobile phone`s voicemail


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also named IP Telephony, Internet
telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband is the
routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based

VoIP – Voice-over Internet Protocol

Is the transmission of telephone calls over a data connection. Often
perceived as voice-over-internet, several types of `managed` VoIP exist.
Internet Calling is therefore a mere subset of VoIP. VoIP over internet often
has severe limiting quality issues, due mainly to packet delays and packet
losses. The quality issues can be decreased by use of an appropriate internet
connection, use of a Qos Router, use of a quality VoIP service provider and use
of appropriate hardware. See QoS Router (Quality of Service) also.


A virtual private network, or VPN, uses the Internet to connect users to
their work or personal networks or servers through a secure `tunnel`. This means
you can connect to your office network securely wherever there`s access to the
Internet. For example, you could set up a VPN at any one of the hundreds of
Hotspots located in airports, hotels and conference centres around the UK and
the rest of Europe.

VPN – Virtual Private Network

A secure network connection between users of differing LANs. A VPN may

constructed over private or public IP networks (such as the internet). VPNs are
becoming an essential tool for mobile employees, and for employees wishing to
work from home.

WAN – Wide Area Network

Data network where the distance between units prohibits the use of a LAN
(Local Area Network) solution. WANs are high-speed, long-distance technologies
to connect nodes of the network.

WAP – Wireless Application Protocol

Set of protocols which enable mobile devices to access online content. WAP
will be extended and superseded by the introduction of 3G technology into the
online content market space.

WCDMA – Wideband CDMA

The 3G wireless communications standard which evolved from CDMA. Also called


The global network of servers on the internet, which allow access to html and
other resources. The web uses the http protocol. Also called www and the World
Wide Web.

Web Browser

A user interface for interaction on the web. The web browser fetches html and
other documents from web servers and displays them for the user.

Web Server

A computer connected to the internet that stores webpages and other files.
These HTML documents and other files can be retrieved using a Web browser.


Wi-Fi is a non-profit organization created to provide an interoperability
certification for Wireless LAN products based on the 802.11 standard.

Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity

Specified as 802.11b by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers), Wi-Fi is wireless technology for creating networks up to around
100m, at 2.4 GHz. Wi-Fi is used to create LANs without the physical

Wireless (Telecommunications)

Transmission medium which is not land-based. Refers to the parts of the EMR
spectrum which can be effectively used for telecommunications transmission. RF,
IR, FM, AM, UV and microwave are all used for telecommunications.

Wireless Broadband

Broadband services which are non land-based (and non satellite-based).


Wireless Local Area Networks or WLANs provide cable-free connection between
notebooks, desktop PCs, printers, PDAs and your office network via wireless
access points. This provides a simple way of expanding your network (and your
business) without the hassle and expense of installing additional cabling.

WPA – Wi-Fi Protected Access

Data encryption specification for Wi-Fi networks. Higher security than WEP.
It improves on WEP by using dynamic keys, EAP (Extensible Authentication
Protocol) to secure network access, and an encryption method called Temporal Key
Integrity Protocol (TKIP).

www – WorldWide Web

Information and communication network using the Internet to access hypertext
documents. Hypertext documents (often webpages) contain text, images, video and
other hypertext items.

xDSL – x Digital Subscriber Line

Collective name for the various classes of digital subscriber lines. ADSL,
SDSL and SHDSL (and the outmoded HDSL) are collectively referred to as xDSL
products. See DSL.