Man confused by mobile phone terminology

Mobile Terminology Explained

You may have just gotten your first mobile phone or you may be a mobile veteran, but that doesn’t mean the different terms and acronyms used are any less confusing. MMS, SMS, PAC, – what does it all mean? We’ve put together this simple guide to help you navigate the confusing world of mobile terminology.


1st / 2nd / 3rd/ 4th Generation of technology used in mobile communications, giving users a way of accessing the Internet without the need for wires or using Wi-Fi.


General Packet Radio Service – used on 2G and 3G networks to transfer data. Usually charged by the volume of data transferred as opposed to per minute of time in use.


Global Positioning System – satellite system used in for navigation such as Satnavs, and on mobile navigation apps such as Google Maps. GPS is only available when four or more GPS satellites are able to give a clear, unobstructed line of sight, which is why it doesn’t always work well in built up areas.


Internet Message Access Protocol – This allows multiple devices to sync to the same email inbox. If you get emails on your mobile, everything you do - such as reading, deleting and sending - will be synced. So when you access your emails on a different device or via webmail, you won’t have to do the same thing again.


International Mobile Station Equipment Identity – the unique number used to identify most modern handsets. Most mobile phones display this number on screen when the code *#06# is entered on the keypad.

Keep a record of this number – it’s used by network providers to keep track of every phone on their records. If your mobile is stolen, you can call your provider and they can block your phone using this number. The phone will then be useless even if the SIM is changed, either to the same network or another.


Multimedia Messaging Service – this allows mobile users to send media messages (such as photos and emoticons) to other mobile users via text. This is often charged as extra by mobile providers as more data is used in sending these messages – at Asda Mobile, we charge 25p per MMS message to the UK, EU and the rest of the world.


Next Generation Text Relay Service – a service that allows people with communication difficulties to communicate. This works in 4 ways; Type & Read, Speak & Read, Type & Hear and Speak & Hear. This can only be used with a text phone or using the NGTS Lite app, available for smartphones and tablets free of charge.

There are 3 prefix numbers you need to enter before making an NGTS call – 18001, 18002 & 18000. We charge at standard rate for 18002 calls but 18001 and 18000 calls are free on our service (excluding any data charges). More info can be found here - How Do I Use NGTS?


Network Unlock Code – this is what your network supplier will give you if you have a dedicated SIM that you want to unlock to receive signal from all networks. Some networks charge for this – as all handsets purchased from Asda should be already unlocked, you shouldn’t need to get a NUC code from us.

PAC code

Porting Authorisation Code – this is a unique code given to you by your network provider to allow you to take your mobile phone number to another provider. This is provided free of charge and lasts 30 days from the date you request it.

PUC/PUK code

Personal Unblocking Code/PIN Unlock Key – this allows users to reset their PIN if it has been forgotten or lost. If you’re an Asda Mobile customer and your phone is blocked, we can supply this code free of charge – just call us on 0800 079 2732 from any UK landline.


Short Message Service – this allows mobile users to send text messages. This has for a long time been the most widely used data application of mobile users – think how many texts you send in a day! Providers charge per text, but usually texts are included in bundles or as part of a wider phone contract. At Asda Mobile, all of our bundles contain a minimum text allowance of 2000 text messages every 30 days.


Wireless Local Area Network – this is used when two or more devices are linked to a wireless computer network within a limited area, such as at college or at home. Users can move around a building with their devices but remain connected, and most modern WLAN networks confirm to the Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 standards.

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