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General Glossary

A mobile telephony standard introduced in the early 1990s by European Telecommunications Standard Institute. First launched in Finland in 1991, GSM soon became very common in Europe, and then globally. GSM currently accounts for 90% of the world’s mobile market, and is therefore the default mobile standard.

An International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is a unique number associated with all Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) network mobile telephone users used for identifying a GSM subscriber. Each IMSI number has two sections. The initial section is comprised of six digits in the North American standard and five digits in the European standard. It identifies the subscriber's GSM network operator in a country. The network operator allocates the second section to uniquely identify the subscriber. The IMSI is stored in the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) inside the telephone and is sent by the telephone to the appropriate mobile network.

A number singularity identifying a subscription in a GSM or a UMTS mobile network. An MSISDN is the telephone number associated with a single SIM card, i.e. the number you call or to which you send an SMS message.

A chip card that contains the IMSI, and identifies the mobile subscriber and provides mobile service. A SIM card also can act as a memory storage device, e.g. to store contacts or SMS messages, network information or apps according to the mobile user’s mobile operator.

Voip or Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows telephone service over the Internet by transmitting voice over Internet Protocol networks.

SIP or Session Initiation Protocol is a relatively new communications protocol for multimedia communication sessions. The most common applications for this protocol are for voice, video, and chat.

H.323 is a recommendation from the ITU Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) that defines the protocols to provide audio-visual communication sessions on any packet network. The H.323 standard addresses call signalling and control, multimedia transport and control, and bandwidth control for point-to-point and multi-point conferences.

Signalling System #7 (SS7) is a set of telephony signalling protocols which set up most of the world's public switched telephone calls. They are also used in mobile messaging, prepaid billing, and other applications.

The short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP) is a telecommunications industry protocol for exchanging SMS messages between SMS peer entities such as short message service centers (SMSCs).

Caller ID is a telecommunication service that enables users to identify incoming calls before answering. Caller ID is possible with mobile, analog, digital and VoIP calls.

2G is an acronym for second generation mobile telecommunications technology that was first launched in Finland in 1991. The main elements of 2G mobile connection were digital encryption of conversations and messages, greater mobile telephone penetration and the introduction of various data services for mobile phones, such as SMS messages.

3G is an acronym for third generation mobile telecommunications technology that was first introduced in 1998 and later commercially in 2002 that enabled wireless data transfer rate of at least 200 kbit/s enabling the easier usage of mobile internet access and video calls.

4G is an acronym for fourth generation mobile telecommunications technology. It was first introduced in Norway and Sweden in 2009 and enabled wireless data transfer rate of at least 100 Mbit/s.

A mobile network operator or MNO, also known as a wireless service provider, wireless carrier, cellular company, or mobile network carrier, is a provider of wireless communications services that owns or controls all the elements necessary to deliver services to end-users, including radio spectrum allocation, wireless network infrastructure and other necessary components. In short, a mobile network operator (MNO) is a telecom entity that provides services for mobile telephone subscribers.

A mobile message routed from an end user's mobile device and delivered to a mobile telephone or an application. In the latter case, incoming messages can be seen over a specialized web interface, which usually offers additional reporting and analytics abilities. Incoming messages can be forwarded to SMPP, HTTP push or pull, or email. Also, they can trigger further actions - an automatic reply, opening of a support ticket etc.

A mobile message routed from a client or an application and delivered to the end user’s mobile telephone.

A short message service center (SMSC) is an element of the mobile telecommunications networks which stores, forwards, converts and delivers SMS messages and maintains unique timestamps in text messages. The main duty of an SMSC is to route SMS messages and regulate the process. If the recipient is unavailable (for example, when the mobile telephone is switched off), the SMSC will store the SMS message and forward the message when the recipient is available or when the message's expiry period has been exceeded.

A One Time PIN code is a code that is valid for only one login session or transaction using a mobile telephone. It is often used in two factor authentication or 2FA to provide an extra layer of security for the user when he uses an ATM machine or tries to log in to a service from a different computer.

16-bit Unicode or Unicode Transformation Format (UTF-16) is a method of encoding character data, capable of encoding 1,112,064 possible characters in Unicode.

A system that incorporates both outbound (MT) and inbound (MO) SMS into one fully-featured service. By using a dedicated number, a 2-Way SMS user can send and receive SMS through a web messaging platform by using complete solutions or APIs.

Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an extra layer of security that requires the users to use both their online password and their mobile telephone to verify their identity in order to access a service or web app. In addition to using their service credentials to access sensitive data, the user also receives a one-time passcode or PIN number on his or her token or via SMS. The advantage of using a mobile telephone for 2FA is that users tend to carry their mobile devices with them at all times. That way, services can ensure that their users receive the verification PIN over something that only they have. The one-time PIN (OTP) number is generated and sent to the user’s mobile telephone. The user receives the OTP and types it into the application to confirm their identity.

The process of sending mobile messages from an application to a mobile user. A2P SMS messaging is also called enterprise or professional SMS. Businesses can use it in several technical modes to communicate with consumers, authenticate users of online services, or deliver time-sensitive alerts. In all the cases, communication is initiated from a business application, and not an individual’s mobile telephone, as is the case with P2P SMS. Typical examples of A2P SMS include banking notifications, critical alerts, SMS-based two factor authentication, automatic booking confirmations, loyalty programs and marketing notifications etc. Online reservation systems, different corporate platforms and support services have deployed A2P SMS to increase efficiency and improve communication. Financial institutions have been using A2P SMS for over 15 years, by delivering automated, event-based SMS notifications to their clients’ mobile telephones. Examples include anti-fraud alerts, balance statements, payment reminders, withdrawal notifications. The most popular modes of using A2P messaging are SMS API integration, access via a web interface (by obtaining a username and password), or the deployment of a professional enterprise solution.

Delivery reporting is a feature of SMS MT that reports back if the SMS message has been delivered, for every message sent. It is sourced directly from the handset. DLRs are URL call-backs for Delivery Reports. Instead of the gateway logging the activity, it will call-back the provided URL using a query string (at the end) with the parameters of the delivery report itself.

A message that appears on the recipient's mobile screen directly. Recipient does not need go to the mobile telephone inbox to read the message, nor is the message allocated to the SMS inbox. Flash SMS is a VAS feature to the standard SMS delivery and is most commonly used to immediately catch the recipients’ attention. Emergency alerts, traffic alerts are the most common usage examples.

Binary SMS messages allow sending of various types of rich-content, such as transferring ringtones, telephone system settings and WAP-Push via text messaging. Any binary SMS message has 140 bytes of data which can be used. This data is split into two distinct parts - the user data header (UDH) and the message data. UDH notifies mobile telephones about the type of data in the message, defining the type of content being sent.

Industry standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in any of the world's writing systems. As an SMS MT feature, it allows any content to be sent within a message.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when switching from one mobile network operator to another.

A 3-6-digit number which enables sending and receiving of SMS messages, usually in SMS sweepstakes, polling, TV voting etc. With short codes, sending and receiving messages is limited to national borders. They can be leased from mobile network operators or through specialized messaging companies that also provide consultancy and tech support. Dedicated short codes are used by one company only, while shared ones can be used by more companies, which have their campaigns distinguished by keywords. For example, one company can use the number to receive SMS messages with the SUPPORT keyword, and the other company can use it to receive messages with the PIZZA keyword. These keywords allow the matching of inbound messages with appropriate campaigns.

Roaming is a term that refers to the ability of a mobile telephone user to use his or her mobile telephone for making or receiving voice calls, sending, or receiving messages and data while travelling outside the coverage of his or her mobile service provider. The mobile telephone uses the subscriber’s identity to access the network in the visited country.

A service-level agreement (SLA) is an agreement between two or more parties, where one is the customer and the others are service providers and is a part of a service contract where a service is formally defined. SLA agreement defines the level of service quality, availability of service and the procedure of reporting and resolving problems that occur. The term SLA is at times used to refer to the contracted delivery time (of the service or performance). Companies include service level agreements within the terms of their contracts with customers to define the level(s) of service being sold in plain language terms.

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