Glossary of terms

Get up to speed with definitions of mobile industry acronyms and buzzwords, along with explanations of Vodafone's brand terms.

Vodafone jargon buster

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123 - our 'ask us anything service'. Charged at a premium rate, check your rate plan information for call rate details

1223 - see Directory Assistance

2.5G - describes a 2G network that supports packet data services GPRS and EDGE in addition to voice. 2.5G allows services such as PXT, MMS and increased data speeds over GPRS. EDGE, often referred to as 2.75G, was a later technology which brought with it another jump in speed

2G - short for 2nd generation. First generation networks are analogue, 2G represented the move from analogue to digital call functionality, which brought with it clearer voice calls, particularly in low coverage areas. It was also more secure, and introduced data calls and services including SMS

3G - 3rd generation mobile networks. Made faster data speeds possible, and brought with it video calling capability and clearer voice calls

3G+ - Vodafone 3G+ is the next generation of network using DC-HSPA+ (Dual Carrier-High Speed Packet Access). Will be rolling out from September 2012 in selected metropolitan areas

4G - 4th generation, capable of achieving download speeds between 2 and 40Mbps when using a compatible device. We'll be releasing 4G in selected areas in 2013

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A-GPS - a feature of GPS enabled phones, which uses your network connection to help pinpoint your position more quickly and accurately. Enabling A-GPS may incur data charges whenever GPS is in use, as a small amount of data is transmitted each time the phone makes use of A-GPS

ACA - Australian Communications Authority, now known as ACMA

ACIF - Australian Communications Industry Forum

ACMA - Australian Communications and Media Authority

Airtime - the call time, the duration between connection and termination of a call

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Balance Alert - helps you control your spend by notifying you when your account balance reaches a nominated dollar amount. See how to activate balance alert TXT messages for more details

Base station - the site of the transmitter which provides the connection between your phone and the Vodafone network. Your phone will automatically connect to the base station which is best able to support your connection, and will dynamically switch between base stations as you move

Bill cycle date - the first day of your bill cycle each month. See what is my bill cycle for more details

Billing cycle - the date that the billing month for your postpaid service starts. More information about your billing cycle

BlackBerry - a range of smartphones manufactured by Research in Motion. Their major differentiator is a unique email functionality, making them particulaly popular for use in business

Bluetooth - a feature allowing high-speed wireless connection between your phone and other devices for data including audio. Often used for connection with other phones, computers, headsets, car kits, wireless speakers etc

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Call barring - blocking of the ability to call, either to receive (incoming barring), or make (outgoing barring) or both. You can place a bar from your phone, or we might bar your account at a network level if you've contacted us to let us know you've lost lost your phone for example. There are some apps available that can even block calls to and from specific contacts. Our Guardian app for Android is one example of this

Call Catcher - informs you of your missed calls by TXT and is an alternative to Voicemail. You can  activate or deactivate Call Catcherfrom your phone

Call divert - the automatic transfer of your calls to another number. There are a number of services that rely on this feature, including Voicemail, CALLscreen and Call Catcher. Postpaid subscribers can also divert calls to any other Australian phone number

Call hold - the ability to put a call on hold. You can also make a second call while the first call is on hold

Call timer - This phone feature allows you to keep track of the time you are on the phone. Often phones will also have a counter built in which will give you a total of the time spend on the phone for the month (or since last reset)

CALLwaiting - a network feature allowing for a second incoming call to be received while you already have an active call. See how to set up CALLwaiting for more details

CALLconference - a network feature allowing you to connect up to 8 participants to a single call. How to set up and use CALLconference

CALLforward - the forwarding of a call to another number. See  how to divert your calls for details

CALLscreen - our operator answered messaging service. More about More about CALLscreen

Character count - the number of characters used in your TXT message. A standard TXT message is 160 characters, any message longer than this will be sent and charged as several messages see concatenated SMS

CLI - short for Calling Line Identification. Allows for the caller's phone number to be displayed on the screen of a recipient's phone. You can chose whether your number is displayed by changing the settings in your phone. See block outgoing caller ID online using My Vodafone for more information

Commitment period - the fixed contract term or commitment period of a postpaid plan for either 12 or 24 months. Month to month plans have a monthly commitment only

Concatenated SMS - an extended length TXT message, which is encoded to allow several standard TXT messages to be joined together and appear on the receiver's phone as a single message. When sending a concatenated SMS, you'll be charged per standard TXT message. With some phones, the number of standard TXTs used are shown in the [#charCount|character count] of the message as you type

Connection fee - A charge applied at the point your call connects, also known as a flag fall

Coverage - the area in which service is available and you are able to use our network. You can check network coverage in your area using our  online Coverage Checker

CSD - Circuit Switch Data, a second generation data network technology, allowing for data to be transmitted over a call. The speed of data transfer is considerably slower than today's packet data network technologies GPRS, 3G, 3G+, and 4G

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Data/fax capability - enables you to send and receive faxes, data files, access the internet and use email when connected to compatible mobile office equipment

DC-HSPA+ - Dual Carrier-High Speed Packet Access, see 3G+

Direct debit - allows payments to be made automatically from your bank account or credit card.

Directory Assistance - you can call directory assistance to get a listing. The number is 1223, and is charged at a higher rate than a standard call, see your plan rate information for details

Do Not Call Register - administered by ACMA, the Do not call register can help to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive if you would prefer not to. See adding your mobile number to the Do Not Call Register for more information

DOA - dead on arrival, a term used to describe a handset which is found to be not working or faulty from the time it is received

DOM - day of month, see Bill cycle date

Dropbox - an online cloud storage service. See the Dropbox website  for more information

DTMF - dual tone multi-frequency. These are the tones you hear when pressing keys on your phone, and are used when interacting with IVRs.

Dual band - a dual band phone from Australia is capable of being used on two GSM frequencies: 900MHz and 1800MHz. This ensures compatibility with both of the GSM networks in operation by us

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Early exit fee - only applicable if you are within a commitment period; this is a payment or fee charged if your terminate your contract prior to its completion. For most plans, this is the monthly access fee multiplied by the number of months remaining on your contract. we will charge you based on the plan you are on at the time of disconnection. If subject to the terms of your agreement you or we terminate your agreement with us prior to the expiration of your commitment period

Early termination payment - early exit fee

EDGE - an enhancement to GPRS offering higher speeds, although not as fast as those provided by newer 3G networks

EEF - see early exit fee

EFR - enhanced full rate. An audio encoding standard for improved call quality on GSM networks. Some older handsets allow you to switch between standards

ELF - early life failure, a term used to describe a a phone fault that develops soon after the phone has begun to be used. The ELF period is defined by and differs between manufacturers

EME - radiofrequency electromagnetic energy, also known as electromagnetic radiation (EMR), the transfer of radio waves which forms the basis of communication between your phone and our network

EMR - see EME

ETC - early termination charge, see early exit fee.ETP - early termination payment, see early exit fee

Excluded services - the services that are not included in your monthly plan each month

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Fair use policy - the fair use policy applies to some services, and can be viewed in full

Flagfall - see connection fee

Flexible credit - the credit available with your prepaid recharge each month to use on included services. See the details for the recharge option you have selected details of the services which can be used with your flexible credit

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GB/Gigabyte - a measure of data, equating to 1024MB. To find out more about what you can do with a GB, check out our data calculator

GLONASS - GLObalnaya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema. Russian owned and operated satellite navigation service. Handsets supporting GLONASS generally support GPS as well, and can use both for improved accuracy and speed

GPRS - General Packet Radio Service. When it was introduced, it allowed connection to data networks at a high rate. Networks operating on GPRS are often referred to as 2.5G networks

GPS - Global Positioning System. US-operated worldwide satellite navigation system. This is a feature on some phones, enabling users to identify their location

GSM - Global System for Mobile Communication - a network standard for 2G mobile networks

GSM1800 - a GSM network which operates in the 1800MHz band. To use your Australian GSM phone on this frequency, it needs to be a dual-band, tri-band, or quad-band phone

GSM1900 - a GSM network that operates in the 1900MHz band. Primarily networks in the USA, South America, Asia and Africa use this band. To use your Australian GSMphone on this frequency, it needs to be tri-band, or quad-band phone

GSM900 - a GSM network which operates in the 900MHz band. To use your Australian GSM phone on this frequency, it needs to be a dual-band, tri-band, or quad-band phone

GSM850 - a GSM network that operates in the 850MHz band. Primarily networks in the USA, South America, Asia and Africa use this band. To use your Australian GSM phone on this frequency it needs to be a quad-band phone

Guardian - Vodafone Guardian is an Android app which allows you and your child to take control over phone functions to encourage safe mobile use. See Vodafone Guardian App for Android for more details

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Hotspot - a wireless connection to the internet being hosted by your phone, usually shared over WiFi although some handsets are able to share a connection over Bluetooth as well. Sometimes called personal hotspot, or portable hotspot

HSDPA - High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is an evolution of the 3G standard, enabling faster data download speeds

HSPA - High Speed Packet Access - is an evolution of the 3G standard, enabling faster data speeds

HSPA+ - evolved High Speed Packet access, see 3G+

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IDD - international direct dialling, a service which allows calls to be made overseas. See  More on IDD rates

IMEI - International Mobile Equipment Identity. It's essentially a serial number for your phone, and can be used to your phone

IMEI blocking - a block that can be placed on your phone if it's lost or stolen, preventing it from being used with any mobile network in Australia

Included value - the usage included with your plan. For your monthly fee, you'll receive an allocation of included value. The details for your plan will explain the inclusions for your particular plan

Incoming call restrictions - a block which can be placed from your phone or on your account to restrict the ability to receive calls

Infrared data port - a data port that uses infrared data association (IrDA®) as the standard for wireless communications between computer and mobile phone devices. For example, to update the phone list on your IrDA®-enabled PC, you would line up the infrared ports on each device and then transfer the phone information to your PC

International call - see IDD

International roaming - service which enables you to use your service outside Australia with network providers in other countries with whom we have an agreement. More information on International Roaming

iPortal - our iPhone-friendly mobile internet site, accessed by going to

IVR - Interactive Voice Response. The recorded options allowing you to use your phone's keypad, used by our customer care number for example, allowing you to make payments or direct your call to the correct department using your keypad

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KB/kilobyte - a measure of data, equals 1024 bytes. 1024 kilobytes make a megabyte (MB). For more details on what you can do with a kilobyte, see our data calculator

Kbps - Kilobits per second, a measure of the speed at which a data connection operates. Not to be confused with KBps, kilobytes per second, which is measuring kilobytes instead of kilobits (one byte equals 8 bits)

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Lara - our voice activated personal assistant, available 24/7 to assist you. An alternative to our IVR service, you can talk to Lara for assistance with your query, or to have your call directed to the relevant department

LTE - Long Term Evolution, the successor to 3G technology, allowing for even faster upload and download speeds

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mb/Megabyte - a measure of data, equal to 1024 kilobytes. For more details on what you can do with a megabyte, see our data calculator

Micro-SIM - a SIM card standard, which is smaller than the mini-SIM which had been in use to date. See what is a micro sim for details

Minimum monthly spend - the minimum cost of your plan each month

MMS - multimedia messaging service, see also PXT

Mobile Internet - the mobile internet is a term used to describe a connection to the internet from a mobile phone. This differs from mobile broadband, which is our wireless internet connection intended to be used from a computer. See our article explaining the difference between mobile internet and mobile broadband for more information

Mobile broadband - a service allowing wireless access to the internet. Enables access the internet anywhere that coverage is available from your desktop, laptop or Wi-Fi capable device using a modem. more on mobile broadband 

Mobile Number Portability (MNP)- enables you to transfer your phone number between network providers

Mobile Payment Plan/MPP - an interest free, fee free option to pay the upfront cost of your phone over 12, 18 or 24 months

Month to month - a way of connecting with us as a postpaid customer, with a month-to-month arrangement, rather than a 12- or 24-month commitment

Monthly access fee - see M=minimum monthly spend

My Vodafone - My Vodafone is our online account management service, giving you access to check your bills, remaining balances, and make changes to your account. Available to both prepaid and postpaid customers

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National roaming - using the service in those parts of Australia which are not in a Vodafone coverage area and in which there are networks operated by other suppliers with whom we have arrangements to allow you to use the services on those networks

National/standard call - calls to and from your phone to any other standard phone (mobile or fixed) connected to a network in Australia. Excludes special services, or any other services specified in your plan details.

Network - see Coverage

NSA/ Network services application form - the application form that you complete when connecting to a Plan with us

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One-touch dialling - the ability to set presets or shortcuts to frequently dialled numbers, allowing you to push a single key to call a number. Only available on supported handsets

OTA/ over the air - refers to the delivery of something to your phone wirelessly. This could be phone settings or software updates

Outgoing call restrictions - a block which can be placed on your phone or account to prevent calls out from your phone. This has a number of applications, and can be used if you have an overdue account, or have reported your SIM lost or stolen

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Packet data - a means of data transfer over networks, which is more efficient and allows for higher speeds than older methods

Paperless billing - the sending of your bill in an electronic format, rather than a copy in the mail. See Online billing

Parental lock - limits access to restricted content. For more information see how to manage your parental lock settings

Pay as you go - see Prepaid

Phonebook - the list of names and telephone numbers stored in your phone's internal memory or on its SIM card, often labelled as 'people' or 'contacts'. The maximum number of entries you can store on your SIM card can be quite limited. Often phones that support the storage of phone book entries in phone memory allow for a greater number of entries to be stored

PIN - your Personal Identification Number. There are a few in use when it comes to your mobile, such as the PIN on your phone and the PIN used when calling us for account related enquiries

Plan - see Postpaid

Port - the transfer or 'port' of your mobile number from one network to another. Derived from the term mobile number portability

Postpaid - where you pay for your account in arrears, this includes what might be termed 'contracts' or 'month to month' plans

Postpay - see Postpaid

Predictive text - see T9

Premium services - SMS messages, MMS messages or calls charged at a higher than standard rate as payment for services or products. Examples of use include voting, competitions, live sport updates, chat services and purchasing ringtones. More information, and to check service provider details

Premium SMS - see premium services

Prepaid - an account type allowing you to pay in advance for your use, by either credit card or recharge voucher. More on Vodafone Prepaid

PUK - Personal Unlocking Key, an 8-digit code unique to your SIM card. It will be asked for if you enter the PIN code in your phone incorrectly three times. How to get your PUK code

PXT - picture messaging, also known as MMS, allows you to send a message containing any combination of pictures, video, sound and text to another compatible phone

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Quad band - a phone which is capable of working on four different frequencies of GSM network. This makes the phone compatible with GSM networks worldwide

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Recharge - to credit your prepaid account with an amount of credit or data. Recharge can be performed by credit card or recharge voucher

Recharge voucher - a voucher which you can purchase from a store, which can be used to credit your prepaid account by the amount specified on the voucher

Restricted content - content that would, or could, be pre-assessed as MA 15+, or R18+ in accordance with the Office of Film and Literature Classification Guidelines. See parental lock for information on accessing this content

Roaming - a service which allows you to use your phone on another network, whether it be within Australia in the case of National Roaming, or overseas with International Roaming

Roaming Data Bundle - available for purchase by postpaid customers, allows a bundle of data to be purchased for use on select networks while roaming overseas. More information on Roaming Data Bundles

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SIM - Subscriber Identity Module, a small card that slots into your mobile phone

SIM toolkit - SMS-based information and entertainment services which are accessed through SIM toolkit on a SIM toolkit capable handset

SIM2 - see SIM toolkit

SMS - Short Message Service, we call it TXT, a way of sending text messages between mobiles

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a method of email transfer

Softkey - a button on your phone which is capable of performing different functions depending on context

Standard calls - see national call

Standard form of agreement/ SOFA - the standard terms and conditions of your service agreement with Vodafone

Standby time - the longest tested time frame that your fully charged battery will remain active when your phone is switched on but not in use

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T9 - text on 9 keys, also known as predictive text. A phone feature which improves the experience of entering text on a phone using the numeric keypad by guessing what words you are typing as you go

Talk time - the amount of time a battery will last from full charge to depletion while continually on a call

TIO - Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. An independent dispute resolution service for the telecommunications industry. More information at

Tri band - describes a mobile phone which is capable of operating on three bands. For phones sold in Australia, these are generally 900MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz. Tri band phones from overseas, particularly those in the US, may operate on different frequencies which can lead to compatibility issues when these phones are brought to Australia

TXT updates - Vodafone-supplied SMS updates

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UMTS - Universal Mobile Telephone System, a 3G technology. See 3G

Upgrade - to recommit to a new contact period, and receive a new handset. See how do I upgrade for more information

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Value-added services - a service offered in addition to the basic services of making calls or sending TXT messages

Visual Voicemail - available only on the Apple iPhone™, Visual Voicemail allows you to manage your voicemail account directly from your phone menu. See our page on Visual Voicemail for more information

Vodafone Central - our online portal, bringing the best of the internet straight to your mobile. If you have a Vodafone Central compatible phone, you can get access to news, sport, weather, scoreboard, music, tones, games, pics, video and My Vodafone. See how to access Vodafone Central for more information

Vodafone Network Guarantee - see Vodafone Network Guarantee

Voice recognition - a phone feature which allows your phone to be operated with your voice. Some quite advanced implementations of the technology have been made recently with Siri on the iPhone, and Google's voice search

Voicemail - a service which answers your calls when you are not available and allows a message to be left. More about Voicemail

VPN/Virtual Private Network - a network connection often used by businesses in particular to create secure remote connections to network infrastructure over the internet

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WAP - Wireless Application Protocol, a internet service optimised for mobile phones. WAP is still often used to ensure compatibility with mobile phones, and ensure a lean format for fast access. As phones have become more advanced and mobile networks have become faster in recent years however, full internet sites are now easily accessed from phones and WAP is not required for a growing number of devices