Mobile Phones for Small Businesses

Understanding the Technology

Here is an explanation of some of the more common technical terms and acronyms used in mobile phone technology.


Subscriber Information Module (SIM) cards fit in the back of mobile handsets. Containing a small chip, they allow use of the mobile network, store your unique phone number, security settings and information such as phone settings, contact data, text messages, etc.


Short Message Service (SMS) allows text messages to be sent and received between mobile phones. It’s a quick, low-cost way of communicating and messages that cannot be delivered immediately, for example if a phone is switched off or out of range, are stored for delivery as soon as the receiver is available.


Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is the digital network used throughout Europe and around most of the world. In addition to talk it can provide voicemail, faxing, SMS and high-speed data transfer (WAP). The GSM standard allows international roaming between mobile phone operators so subscribers can use their phones in many parts of the world.


General Packet Radio System (GPRS) is a technology that uses the GSM network to allow data to be transmitted at higher speeds. It is used for services such as WAP access, SMS and MMS and internet communication services including email and web access. GPRS is a cost-effective way of accessing the internet, because it only charges for the time used to download the information using WAP (unlike GSM which charges for the total time connected).


Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) allows internet material such as web pages and email to be viewed on mobile phones. WAP enables the provision of interactive data services, the most common of which include:

  • Email by mobile phone
  • Tracking of stock market prices
  • Sports headlines
  • News headlines
  • Educational services
  • Music downloads


3G is the Third Generation of mobile phone technology. 3G phone networks, now used by all the UK service providers, allow data to be transmitted at much higher speeds than previously and support services that are not possible with earlier technologies. The 3G technology enables users to download data at a faster rate than before, offering better quality sound, pictures and video. It is technology in development, and will ultimately enable telephones to also become Internet computers, video phones and television receivers.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) can send and receive messages which include graphics, video and audio as well as text. It’s designed for 3G networks so you need an appropriate mobile device to send and receive MMS. An increasing number of companies are using MMS to send messages to subscribers, enquirers or customers. Applications include weather reports, stock quotes, news and sport bulletins, location-based services, such as local maps or traffic services, or animated text messages.


Bluetooth is a short-range radio link with a range of around 10 metres. It allows you to connect between your mobile and devices such as a headset, PDA, desktop or laptop, printer, keyboard, computer mouse and network access points. It replaces cables and is a standard way to connect devices anywhere in the world.

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