Understanding mobile phone technical terms and acronyms

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Doogue + GeorgeThe article Understanding mobile phone technical terms and acronyms is written by Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.

Doogue + George are experts in criminal law and have been involved in thousands of criminal matters and defended clients in hundreds of jury trials and thousands of other criminal cases. Our experienced lawyers have unparalleled experience in criminal law.

Woman Holding a CellphoneAs defence lawyers we spend a lot of time working out issues about our clients’ mobile phones;

  1. Who do we subpoena to get information for a particular number?
  2. Where were they at a certain time? (what tower were they near when making calls)
  3. Who have they been ringing?
  4. Who has been ringing them?

I came across this very useful list of mobile phone acronyms which I have added a couple to.

If there are others that are missed, please shoot them through via the comments below and we will update the list.



3G Third Generation of mobile phone technology – a type of mobile phone system and a successor to second generation mobile phone systems like GSM.
Active Data Data which is currently referenced by the file system that is readily visible to the user through the device without specialist tools or reconstruction. This does not generally include deleted data.
CCR Call charge records
CD-R Compact Disc-Recordable – an optical disc that can be used to store data. Whilst the disc can be written to over several different sessions, once the data has been written to the disc it cannot be erased, changed or overwritten (write once).
CD-RW Compact Disc ReWritable – an optical disc that can be used to store data. Data can be written to, and removed from, the disc on repeated occasions.
CDMA Code Division Multiple Access – a type of mobile phone system which has now been discontinued in Australia.
Destination Address For sent messages, this is the recipient’s phone number.
External Type This is the status of an SMS message on the SIM card – e.g. read, to be read, sent, to be sent, deleted.
Flash drive A data storage device with a USB interface. Flash drives are commonly referred to as USB sticks, USB drives or Thumb drives.
GPS Global Positioning System – satellite base radio positioning, navigation, and time transfer system.
GSM Global System for Mobile communications – a type of mobile phone system.
ICCI Integrated Circuit Card Identifier – a unique identification number for the SIM card. It is stored electronically within the SIM card and may also be printed on the outside of the SIM card.
IMEI International Mobile Equipment Identity – the serial number of the handset. It is generally printed on both a sticker attached to the phone and stored electronically within the handset.
IMSI International Mobile Subscriber Identity – a unique number stored in the SIM card that is associated with network mobile phone users. An IMSI number is usually 15 digits long. The first three digits represent the country code with the remaining digits, up to fifteen, representing the network code and the unique subscriber number from within the network’s customer base.
MB Megabyte – a measure of electronic data. It is equal to approximately 1,048,000 bytes of data (one byte can represent a single character). 1MB would represent approximately 500 text pages.
Message Type SMS-SUBMIT – message has been sent or is yet to be sent from this phoneSMS-DELIVER – message that has been received from a Service Centre to this phoneSMS-STATUS-REPORT – generated by the Service Centre as a result of a message being sent successfully from this phone.
M2 Card See memory card.
Memory Card A data storage device that utilises non-volatile flash memory to store data. Non-volatile memory retains stored data when power is turned off. Common· forms of memory- cards include SD Cards, MiniSD Cards, microSD Cards, M2 cards, MultiMedia Cards, CompactFlash Cards, Memory Stick Micro, Memory Stick Duo and others.
MicroSD Card See memory card.
MiniSD Card See memory card.
MMS Multimedia Message Service – A messaging service for mobile phone systems that supports image, audio and video file transfers.
Originating Address For received messages, this is the sender’s phone number.
Phase Relating to the capabilities of the SIM card – e.g. A “Phase 2” compatible SIM card will support more features than a “Phase 1” SIM card such as the ability to utilise call waiting and multi party calling.
Phone Flashing A method of extracting the contents of the contents of the physical memory of a mobile telephone handset.
PUK Code Personal or PIN Unblocking key (PUK). A code required to access the SIM card when a security personal identification number has been entered incorrectly three times.
Service Centre The messaging service centre recorded in the SIM card. The centre receives messages sent from the phone, and delivers messages to the phone.
Service Centre Address – Number The phone number of the Service Centre.
SD Card See memory card.
Service Centre Timestamp The timestamp reflects the date and time recorded by the Service Centre when it handles a message. It does not reflect the date and time on the phone.
SIM Card Subscriber Identity Module Card. A smart card used in GSM and 3G mobile phones, containing subscriber, network identification and some user data.
Sim Identification (ICC) A value assigned to the SIM card’s Integrated Circuit Chip (See ICCID).
SMS Short Message Service – A messaging service for mobile phone systems where messages are broken down into 160 character blocks.
USIM Card Universal Subscriber Identity Module – the 3G equivalent of the SIM card. Physically a USIM card is the same size and appearance as a SIM card, however a USIM card has a larger storage capacity and permits access to 3G mobile phone networks. A USIM’s data contents can be divided into two separate areas (called partitions). This is to enable the access to both 2G networks when the card is inserted into a phone that does not support USIM or is not on a 3G network.
User Data Header – Meaning Concatenated message number – a reference number assigned to a set of messages constituting a multi-part message. Part x of y – for multi-part messages, this indicates the number of messages that make up the multi-part message, and the sequence number of a message with the multi-part message. Message parts can be overwritten by more recent messages, therefore not all parts of multi-part message may be present.

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Date Published: 8 October 2013

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