Phone cards glossary
Access Gateway - - Equipment used to provide the electronic "bridge" from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to an Internet protocol (IP) network.
Account Codes - - Also known as Project Codes or Bill-Back Codes. Account Codes are additional digits dialed by the calling party that provide information about the call. Typically used by hourly professionals (accountants, lawyers, etc.) to track and bill clients, projects, etc.
Agent - - A person or organization that acts on behalf of another. In the telecommunications industry, Agents typically are independent individuals or companies that market the services of a carrier as if they were employees of that carrier.
Alternate Access - - A form of local access where the
provider is not the LEC, but is authorized or permitted to provide such
Alternate Access Carriers - - Local exchange carriers
in direct competition with the RBOCs. Normally found only in the larger
metropolitan areas. Examples are Teleport and Metropolitan Fiber Systems.
Alternative Operator Services - - Operator services
provided by a company other than a LECRBOC or AT&T that is authorized to
provide such service.
ANI - - See Automatic Number Identification.
Authentication - - Process of verifying with certainty
the identity of a valid subscriber or ITSP through the use of a unique user
identification number, password or other method (i.e., verifying that customers
are who they say they are).
Authorization - - Process of allowing a Subscriber or
ITSP a certain monetary credit or time amount of IP Telephony. Authorization is
the granting of permission to provide users the service they are requesting.
Authorization Number - - same as PIN.
Automatic Number Identification - - Originating Number
(1) The number associated with the telephone station(s) from which switched
calls are originated (or terminated). (2) A software feature associated with
Feature Group D (and optional on Feature Group B) circuits. ANI provides the
originating local telephone number of the calling party. This information is
transmitted as part of the digit stream in the signalling protocol, and
included in the Call Detail Record for billing purposes. (3) ANI may also be
used to refer to any phone number.
BAN - Billing Account Number - - Used by telephone
companies to designate a billing account, i.e., a customer or customer location
that receives a bill. A customer may have any number of BANs.
Banded Rates - - Tariffed rates which may be changed by
the carrier within a specified range. Frequently, state commissions require
notice to the commission prior to each change. Banded rates are being used less
Billing Account Number - BAN - - Used by telephone
companies to designate a customer or customer location that will be billed. A
single customer may have multiple billing accounts.
Bill-To-Room - - A billing option associated with
Operator Assisted calls that allows the calling party to bill a call to their
hotel room. With this option, the carrier is required to notify the hotel, upon
completion of the call, of the time and charges.
Bong - - An interactive signal that prompts the
originating end user to enter additional information. For example: 1010555 Bong
(Enter Destination) Bong (Enter Billing information) Also used to denote a
sucharge particularly in the calling card industry.
BTN - Billing Telephone Number - - The phone number
associated, for billing purposes, with the Working Phone Number.
Bypass - - Access an IEC other than the customer's
Equal Access carrier by dialing 10+CIC Code.(e.g. Bypass to WorldCom by dialing
"1010555"). See Walkthrough, CIC Code
Call Data Record (CDR) - - Record of a placed call. A
CDR includes the time the call was placed and the duration of the call.
Calling Cards - - Telecommunication credit cards with
an AuthCode for using a long distance carrier when the customer is away from
their home or office (ANI).
Callingcards - - Same as phone cards or calling cards.
Carrier - - A telecommunications provider which owns
Carrier Identification Code - CIC - - A three digit
number used with Feature Groups B and D to access a particular IEC's switched
services from a local exchange line. One or more CIC codes are assigned to each
carrier. (i.e. there may be multiple CICs per ACNA). See Bypass
Casual Calling - - Allow any ANI (including undefined
ANIs) to access a given carrier. For example, if the originator is calling from
a non-coin phone, they may dial 1010555+destination number and have the call
routed through WorldCom and billed to the originating phone
Casual Customer - - Any person or organization that
dials any CIC Code. (Not necessary to presubscribe to the carrier.)
Class of Service - COS - - A special limitation on what
numbers can and cannot be called. International, 809, 809 + Canada, 48
contiguous states, etc.
Clipping - - Situation where the system cuts off the
first part of the first word in a sentence. (Not to be confused with choppiness
-- which is a packet loss).
COCOT - - Customer Owned Coin Operated Telephone
Coin Phone - - A coin-operated pay phone with
restricted access to some services (e.g. International calling). Coin phones
have subclasses of Public, Semi Public, and Private.
Collect - - A call that is paid for by the
receiving/destination phone number. Requires approval/authorization of the
person being called.
Common Carrier - - A carrier that holds itself out as
serving the public (or a segment thereof) indifferently (i.e., without regard
to the identity of the customer and without undue discrimination). Common
carriers may vary rates based on special considerations and may in fact serve
only a small fraction of the general public.
Connection Fee - - A fee charged on every call that is
Contract - - A legally-binding agreement between a
vendor and a customer to provide Products, Services or Features in a specified
quantity and quality, for a specified price, during a specified period of time.
Contract Tariffs - - Services and rates based on
contracts negotiated with individual customers, but theoretically available to
all customers. AT&T has filed several hundred contract tariffs.
Country Code - - Two or three digit codes used for
International calls outside of the North American Numbering Plan area codes.
Dial: 011 + country code + city code + local phone number) (e.g. "011 + 91 + 22
+ 123- 4567" 91 = India, 22 = Bombay)
Customizable PIN - - A PIN that gives you the ability
to choose the specific numbers or character sequence.
Cut-Through Dialing - - "10"+CIC+" #" followed by an
AuthCode for IntraLATA calls.
DA - Directory Assistance - - Phone Number Lookup
DAL - Dedicated Access Line - - A non-switched circuit
from the customer to a carrier.
DDD - Direct Distance Dialing - - Any switched
telecommunication service (like 1+, 0++, etc.) that allows a call originator to
place long distance calls directly to telephones outside the local service area
without an operator.
DDI - Direct Dial In - - Designates a private number or
direct line which either bypasses the switchboard/PABX or is available after
Deactivation - - A request to terminate service (or the
process of terminating service)
Default Carrier - - Your regular Dial-1 carrier. Call
1-700-555-4141 to find your default carrier.
Dial - - To Place A Call On A Switched Network. The
term "dial" is obsolete - based on rotary dial phones and electromechanical
relay switches (which are nearly non-existent in modern telephone systems.)
Touch Tone service recognizes dual tones that are generated as each telephone
key is pressed. Where Touch Tone service is not available, telephones and
switches electronically "pulse" signals that emulate the older rotary dial
telephones. The terms "place" a call or "originate" a call are more accurate
Dial Tone - - Ready To Place/Originate A Call. When the
off hook indication is received at a central office, a dial tone signal is sent
to the originating caller on a switched network to indicate that the switch is
ready to accept a number.
Dialer - - Equipment that pulses out a standard dial
Digital - - A device or method that uses discrete
variations in voltage, frequency, amplitude, location, etc. to encode, process,
or carry binary (zero or one) signals for sound, video, computer data or other
information. For example, a digital clock displays the time as discrete numeric
values, rather than angular displacement of analog hands. Digital
communications technology generally permits higher speeds of transmission with
a lower error rate than can be achieved with analog technology. When analog
signals are received and amplified at each repeater station, any noise is also
amplified. A digital signal, however, is detected and regenerated (not
amplified). Unlike amplification, any noise (less than a valid signal) is
eliminated by digital regeneration.
Directory Assistance - DA - - An information service
whereby operators assist customers in obtaining the telephone number(s) they
wish to call.
Equal Access - - (AT&T Divestiture - 1982 Modified
Final Judgement) The provision of one-plus capability to interLATA competitors
of AT&T. Customers should be able to reach the carrier of their choice by
dialing 1+ the long-distance number. The MFJ and the FCC require local exchange
carriers to provide equal access (most central offices now have this
capability). Equal Access may also refer to a more generic concept under which
the BOCs must provide access services to AT&T's competitors that are equivalent
to those provided to AT&T.
FCC - Federal Communications Commission - - Regulates
interstate communications: licenses, rates, tariffs, standards, limitations,
etc. Appointed by U.S. President .Web Site = http://www.fcc.gov
Gateway - - Device that connects two different kinds of
networks and performs the translations required for them to communicate with
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) - -
European protocol used for encoding digital cellular phone transmissions.
IC - - Interexchange Carrier - IXC - IEC (IEC is
preferred). A company providing long-distance phone service between LECs and
IEC - Interexchange Carrier - - IC - IXC (IEC is
preferred). A company providing long-distance phone service between LECs and
Interexchange - - Communication between two different
InterLATA - - Communication between Local Access
Transport Areas. 1982 MFJ requires LECs to use an IEC for InterLATA services.
International - - Between multiple nations.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) - -
Organization in Geneva that evaluates and approves proposed standards for
Internet Protocol (IP) - - Main protocol (i.e., set of
rules that formulates the foundation of communication) that controls data flow
from one point to the another. It is actually the low-level common denominator
of the Internet.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) - - Company that offers
its customers accesses to the Internet.
Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) - - Company
that offers its customers the ability to make phone calls over the public
Interstate - - Between multiple states. Interstate
communications are regulated by the FCC.
IntraLATA - - Communication within a Local Access
Transport Area. 1982 MFJ allows LEC to handle these calls without an IEC.
Intrastate - - Communication within a single state.
Intrastate communications are regulated by each state's PUC.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - - Phone
line service whose technology offers more bandwidth more economically; it is
therefore better suited for Internet telephony and video applications. ISDN
uses multiple channels for data and voice.
IXC - - 1) Interexchange Carrier (IEC is preferred). A
company providing long-distance phone service between LECs and LATAs. 2)
Interexchange Circuit. A circuit that connects PoPs.
Jitter - - Difference in arrival time of packets sent
at the same time but traveling different routes.
LATA - - Local Access Transport Areas (200 in the
U.S.). A geographic service area defined in the AT&T Modified Final Judgement.
The RBOCs (baby Bells) and GTE are restricted to operations within, but not
between, LATAs. Long distance service within a LATA is provided by the LEC.
Service between LATAs is provided by an IEC. LATAs are represented by a
3-character code, and there are 164 of them across the country.
LEC - - See Local Exchange Carrier
LEC BAN - Billing Account Number - - 3-digit number
appended to the billing phone number used as the LEC customer number. Groups
all ANIs for a customer.
LEC Billing - - Arrangement whereby the Local Exchange
Carrier invoices the customer for some or all telecommunications services.
LEC Card - - The billing arrangement which enables the
caller to bill calls to an authorized calling card issued by a local exchange
LEC Charges - - Charges that are the responsibility of
the local exchange carrier.
Letter Of Agency - LOA - - A document that authorizes
changing the service provider. (See RespOrg, 800 Portability)
Local Access - - Local Loop. The connection from a
subscriber to the Central Office. The portion of a circuit connecting the LEC's
CO with the customer's premise equipment across the local network.
Local Access Provider - - Any organization that is
authorized to provide local access. (May or may not be the LEC.)
Local Area Network (LAN) - - Number of computers
connected together to form one network.
Local Exchange Carrier - LEC - - The local or regional
telephone company that owns and operates lines to customer locations and Class
5 Central Office Switches. LECs have connections to other COs, Tandem (Class 4
Toll) offices and may connect directly to IECs like WorldCom, AT&T, MCI,
Local Exchange Service - - Local phone calls.
Long Distance Carrier - - A company providing
long-distance phone service between LECs and LATAs.
Message Toll Service - MTS - - Pay-by-the-minute
switched long distance services. Includes conventional long distance and
NPA - Numbering Plan Areas - - North American "Area
Codes." (3 digits: 2-to-9, 0-or-1, 0-to-9. Middle digit to expand soon)
Operator Service Call - OSC - - A call that is placed
through a human or automated operator (0+).
Operator Service Provider - OSP - OS Provider - - The
vendor that supplies operator service.
Outbound - - Outward Sending - Call Originating -
Payphone - - A public (or private) telephone that
accepts coins or encoded credit cards.
Payphone Fee - - Additional charge per call if if call
is made using a payphone, normally collected for the owner of the payphone.
Personal Identification Number (PIN) - - Personal
unique security codes that callers use to access their accounts.
Person-to-Person - - Operator assisted phone call -
only billed if the specified person is available.
Phone card - - Same as a calling card or telecard.
Phonecard - - Same as a calling card or telecard.
PIC - Primary Interexchange Carrier - - The IEC that 1+
calls are routed to. Specified by ANI.
PIC Charges - - A LEC charge for changing the PIC.
Often paid by the new IEC. If a LEC sends a PIC charge to a customer, the new
IEC will typically credit the customer's account.
PIC Freeze - - A PIC Freeze prevents the long distance
from being switched for the specified ANIs. Useful to prevent slamming, or the
unauthorized switching of long distance services.
PIC Request - - A request record sent to a LEC asking
for an ANI to be activated, deactivated or changed in some way.
PIC Response - - A response record sent by a LEC
(corresponding to a previous PIC Request) with response code that indicates
whether the request was performed. (Some LECs return non-standard PIC Response
Point Of Presence - POP - - The physical access
location interface between a local exchange carrier and an Interexchange
Carrier fiber network. The point to which the telephone company terminates a
subscriber's circuit for long distance service or leased line communications.
Point-To-Point - - Non-switched, dedicated
Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) - - Protocol to access
the Internet using dial-up connections.
POP - - See Point Of Presence
POTS - - Plain Old Telephone Service
Prepaid Phone Card - - A plastic or paper card that
allows a person to pay for long distance/local phone calls in advance.
Primary Interexchange Carrier - - The long distance
company that is automatically accessed when a customer dials 1+.
Private Line - - Uses dedicated circuits to connect
customer's equipment at both ends of the line. Does not provide any switching
capability (unless supported by customer premise equipment). Usually includes
two local loops and an IEC circuit.
Provisioning - - The process by which a requested
(ordered) service is designed, implemented and tracked (providing the
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) - - The
regular, "old-fashioned" telephone network.
PUC - Public Utilities Commission - - The agency
regulating intrastate phone service.
Rate Element - - A recurring fixed charge for IEC or
LEC service at the lowest level. A local loop may have multiple rate elements
associated with it, which make up the fixed portion of the monthly bill. For
example: Local Access, Local Mileage, Entrance facilities, Channel Termination,
Rates and Tariffs - - Standards published by AT&T,
OCCs,LECs, and IECs that define service availability, cost and provisioning
Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) - - Protocol that
improves Internet telephone calls by adding special information to the voice
data packets to help programs reassemble them more efficiently.
RBOC - - Regional Bell Operating Company. Bell
operating companies set up after the AT&T divestiture.
Rebiller - - See Reseller
Recharge Code - - A set of numbers on a calling card
used to add additional funds, usually the last several digits of a PIN.
Rechargeable Phone Card - - A calling card used which
can be refilled with units by the addition of funds to the calling card account
without the purchase of a new card or a new PIN.
Reuseable Phone Card - - A calling card used which can
be refilled with units by the addition of funds to the calling card account
without the purchase of a new card or a new PIN.
Regional Bell Operating Companies - RBOC - - One of the
seven "Baby Bell" Companies created by the 1982 Modified Final Judgement that
specified the terms of the AT&T Divestiture. The seven RHCs include: NYNEX,
Bell Atlantic, Bell South, Southwestern Bell, U.S. West, Pacific Telesis, and
Ameritech. "RBOC" is sometimes used informally to refer to the Regional Holding
Companies defined in the 1982 MFJ. (See Bell Operating Companies - There are 19
Regulators - - FCC, PUC, Federal Courts (e.g. MFJ),
Reseller - Also known as Rebiller - - A long-distance
carrier (IEC) that does not own a network, but leases bulk capacity and resells
portions of it at a higher rate.
Residential Customer - - An individual (non-business)
telephone system subscriber.
Responsible Organization - R/O - Resporg - - With 800
Portability, the Number Administration Service Center (NASC) allows the RespOrg
to make changes such as carrier, termination, 800 call routing (by time of day,
location.) A Letter Of Agency (LOA) must be on file to change the RespOrg for
Router - - Switching device that that directs traffic
through the Internet.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) - - Encrypted communications
path between two computers. Theoretically protects customer information.
Serial Line Interface Protocol (SLIP) - - Protocol to
access the Internet using dial-up connections.
Slam - - An end user that is PICed without their
permission. An RBOC Slam Fee must be paid for each slam.
Smart Card - - A plastic phone-card with a stored cash
value in a micro-chip inside the card.
SMS - - Service Management System Also Simple Message
System Also Simple Message Service
SMS Customer Record - - All information related to one
800 number, effective date and time, etc.
Speed Dialing - - A service to abbreviate and
accelerate frequently dialed numbers.
State Tax - - A collection of tax types that each state
is allowed to charge. Tax jurisdiction (which state can charge tax for a call)
is based on the two-out-of-three rule: where it originates, where it
terminates, where it is being billed to - if two match, that state can charge
Surcharge - - An additional charge on top of a base
rate for a specified reason. A fee charged against the card usually to cover
the companies costs.
Switch - - A device (like a DMS-250 or a PBX) that
responds to originator signals and dynamically connects the caller to the
desired communication destination.
Switched Access - - Nondedicated local access between
the customer's premise and the serving wire center which is interconnected to
the company's point-of-presence for origination or termination of service.
Switched Access Service - - A class of LEC services
that provides the link from the customer's premise to the IEC PoP for switched
Switched Resellers - - Resellers that utilize their own
switching hardware (and sometimes their own lines) and the lines of other IXCs
to provide long-distance service to its subscribers. They provide their own
billing and service.
Switched Services - - All dial up long-distance
services including conventional residential and WATS (most have incremental use
charges). (See Message Toll Service)
Switching Fee - - A per-line fee (usually around 5$)
imposed by the LEC to reprogram their switching system to change your default
carrier. Subscribers must usually pay this fee when switching to a reseller.
Switchless Reseller - - A reseller of long-distance
services that does not utilize any of its own lines, or (switching) equipment.
All actual service and equipment is handled by the IXC. Billing is usually
done, by the reseller themselves, to the customer.
Tariff - - A public document filed with the FCC or a
PUC that outlines services and rates. Usually, all customers are offered the
same rate for a specific service, based on published constraints.
Telecard - - Same as a phone card or calling card.
TDD - - Telecommunications Device for the Deaf
Telco - Telephone Company - - The local or regional
telephone company that owns and operates lines to customer locations and Class
5 Central Office Switches. Telcos have connections to other COs, Tandem (Class
4 Toll) offices and may connect directly to IECs like WorldCom, AT&T, MCI,
Sprint, LDDS, etc.
Termination gateway - - The computer equipment
configured with certain hardware and software, which provides the electronic
"bridge" from an IP network to the PSTN to connect to the destination
Third Party Billing - - Use of an outside service
bureau for bill processing such as: call rating, customer invoicing,
Time of Day Routing - - Route calls based on the time
the call originates. (e.g. direct morning calls to East Coast operators and
afternoon calls to West Coast operators, etc.). SMS/800 supports 15 minute time
Toll - - A rated call (Contrast CDR - unrated call
detail record). Tolls appear on the Invoice Detail.
Toll Call - - A call with incremental use
(minute-by-minute) charges. (Often through a Class 4 Toll Office).
Toll Fraud - - A crime in which a "hacker" obtains
telecommunication services by: breaching computer security, using or selling
stolen long-distance credit-card codes, or, accessing a PBX and using its
communication facilities illegally. Toll Fraud is estimated to cost U.S.
companies $1.2 billion/year.
Value Added Reseller (VAR) - - Company offering
services other than the core service. For example, a company who sells
computers and offers training, service, and on-going maintenance is considered
Vanity Number - - A specific 800 or 888 number (may
Verified Account Codes - - See Account Codes. A finite
list of carrier-verified, predefined Account Codes.
Vocoder - - Compresses a digital signal and then
decompresses it. (Also known as coder.)
Voice Mail - - An automatic answering service with the
ability to record a message. Unlike simple answering machines, Voice mail uses
a programmable computer system with options such as temporary call routing,
monitoring and reporting, etc.
Voice Mail Box - - The assignment of one user/number on
a voice mail system.
WATS - Wide Area Telephone Service - - Flat rate, or
special rate pay-by-the-minute (measured) billing for a specified calling area.
May be outbound or inbound (e.g. 800).
Wide Area Network (WAN) - - Number of computers
connected together to form one network over several locations. Could be made up
of several LANS all connected together across the world for example.
Wireless - - Radio waves, cellular, satellite,
WNP - - Wireless Number Portability.
WTN - - Working Telephone Number.