Glossary of Terms
Mobile & Messaging

Just like in any sectors, the mobile sector (and the messaging providers in particular) use a lot of terms and neologisms to describe its processes and technology. To ease understanding, we have compiled here a list of the most used terms in the mobile and messaging business:

A | B | C | D | F | H | I | M | N | O | P | S | T | U | W

A2P messaging

Application-2-Person (A2P) is the process of sending text messages to a mobile subscriber from an application as opposed to sending a text message from a phone.

Alphanumeric Sender ID

The usage of a combination of numeric and alpha characters (0-9, a-z, A-Z, _) as the sender of the text message. It can be customized to reflect a brand for example. Receiving a text message from a Brand name as opposed to a long unrecognizable number is a more professional and efficient way to reach customers. However, the recipient of the text message cannot reply to a message sent with alphanumeric sender ID.

Binary messages

Binary messages are messages that require special encoding to overcome the character limitation of the SMS. Binary messages are used for characters in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Slavic languages (e.g., Russian), as well as for sending ringtones, photos, or in WAP Push messaging.

Concatenated messages

Concatenated messages are messages that require special encoding to overcome the character limitation of the SMS. In practice, you can send text message which exceed the character limit of a normal SMS, and these long messages are split into smaller messages by the sender and then recombined at the receiving end. However, each message is billed separately, as it is technically more than one message sent through the networks.

Delivery Reports (DLR)

DLR is a feature of SMS MT that enables delivery reporting for every text message sent. It is sourced directly from the handset.

Fixed sender ID

Usually a predetermined numeric sender ID in a standard MSISDN format, which cannot be customized or changed.

Flash SMS or Flash notification

The flash message service enables you to send a message that will appear on the recipient's mobile screen. This means that your recipient does not need go to the mobile phone inbox to read the message. This type of messages is very useful for prompt notifications.

HLR Lookup (or Number Context)

HLR Lookup (Home Location Register) is a query to a central database that contains details of each mobile phone subscriber that is authorized to use the GSM core network. This feature is very useful to cleanup a database of number before sending an SMS campaign, by knowing if a number is still active or not. It is also used to know which target subscribers are currently roaming and therefore estimate the cost and impact of sending an SMS to this subscriber or not. The HLR Lookup feature has a very low cost and therefore can be extremely valuable in order to maximise the effciency and costs of sending an SMS.

HTTP

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a communications protocol for information transfer on the intranet and the World Wide Web.

IMSI

An International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is a unique number associated with all GSM and UMTS network mobile phone users. It is stored in the SIM card and is sent by the phone to the network.

MNO

A mobile network operator (MNO) is a telephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers.

MO (mobile originated)

A mobile message routed from an end user's mobile device and delivered to a mobile phone or an application.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile phone users to keep their existing mobile number when switching from one mobile network operator to another.

MSISDN

In short, MSISDN means the mobile number. It is a number uniquely identifying the subscription to a GSM or UMTS mobile network.

MT (mobile terminated)

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

MVNO

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a company that provides mobile phone service but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum, nor does it necessarily have the entire infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone service.

Numeric sender ID

Default sender type of SMS message in standard MSISDN format. Recipients can reply to messages with a numeric sender ID (2-way messaging)

OTA

A feature of SMS-MT that sends over-the-air configuration messages, such as software updates, configuration settings and security locks.

P2A messaging

Person-2-application (P2A) is the process of sending mobile messages from a mobile user to an application. This definition is often used to define enterprise messaging.

P2P messaging

Person-2-Person (P2P) is the process of sending mobile messages from one mobile user to another. This is the usual traffic between subscribers of mobile operators.

SLA

Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the part of a service contract that formally defines the level of service and commitment of a each parties.

SMPP

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). This protocol is usually used for larger infrastructures handling large volumes of SMS. The simpliest alternative for smaller organizations or structures is to use the HTTP protocol.

SMS aggregator

An SMS aggregator is a mobile telecom company with multiple agreements with operators to send and receive data in and out of the operator's SMSC, acting as an intermediary between organizations (i.e. content and brand owners) that want to interact with end users by means of their mobile phones, and mobile network operators.

SMS hubbing

SMS hubbing is a new structure for international SMS traffic, reshaping international mobile inter-operability by implementing hubs to intermediate SMS traffic and offer a larger SMS coverage. The GSM Association (GSMA) found in SMS hubbing the solution to a problem that limits the continuing growth of international SMS, culminating with the development of SMS hubbing trials in 2006, part of the Open Connectivity project. This initiative created a new structure for international SMS interoperability, as well as developed standards and requirements that SMS hubs should follow. Regardless of the maturity of the operator or number of subscribers, each subscriber expects to be able to send an SMS to other subscribers, regardless of country and mobile network.

SMSC

A short message service centre (SMSC) is an element of mobile telecommunications networks which delivers SMS messages.

SS7

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

2-way Messaging

Two-way messaging is the system that incorporates both outbound (MT) and inbound (MO) SMS into one featured service.

UDH

UDH (User Data Header) is a part of the SMS that provides instructions to the receiving handset about the type of message being sent. This is done to ensure correct delivery and message displayed.

Unicode

Unicode is an 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.

USSD

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a session-based text communication. It is available on every GSM-enabled mobile device. Because there is no store-and-forward mechanism present with USSD (unlike SMS), the protocol is more practical for interactive communication, such as banking or education.

Wap Push

WAP Push has been incorporated into the specification to allow WAP content to be pushed to the mobile handset with minimum user intervention. A WAP Push is basically a specially encoded message which includes a link to a WAP address. WAP Push is specified on top of WDP; as such, it can be delivered over any WDPsupported bearer, such as GPRS or SMS.