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Industry Terms Glossary

The following glossary has been compiled as a resource for you. If there are terms not shown here for which you would like to see definitions, please let us know so that we can add it for yourself and future readers.



Ten-digit long codes are the ten-digit telephone numbers we see and use every day. U.S.-based carriers have launched an A2P 10DLC sanctioned service supporting business messaging on long codes which had previously only been used for P2P use cases.


A2P (Application-to-Person)

Mobile messages sent from an application to a mobile user are sent “A2P.” However, this term is use ubiquitously to refer to text messages originating from a business.

Accurate to Meters

Labeled “circularAreaRadius” in the Aerialink Locations API and “Accurate to Meters” in the Aerialink Platform UMI, this standard metric provided in the carrier response to location requests represents the size of the area that which has a high probability of containing the phone’s actual location. A small radius indicates a higher degree of confidence about the phone’s location, whereas larger values indicate a greater number of error sources and thus less certainty of the phone’s location. However, note that in no case is the phone guaranteed to be within the radius provided. For AGPS, this value is derived from an algorithm which takes into account the position of the satellites being used, the number of satellites used to obtain the fix, signal path, and other factors.

Alert Message

Notifications containing time-sensitive information (event details, weather, news, service updates), typically in the form of a text or multimedia message.

Alphanumeric Sender ID

Also referred to as an “alphanumeric source address,” this sender ID is a customizable combination of alpha and numeric characters (0-9, a-z, A-Z, _). End users cannot reply to messages from alphanumeric senders. This type of messaging is referred to as “international bulk” or “international one-way.”

API (Application Programming Interface)

Allows software to talk to other software.

Asynchronus Mode

Each side of the SMPP connection is free to send multiple transactions simultaneously without awaiting an acknowledgment from the recipient SMSC as a result of the first transaction.



A measure of the capacity of a communications channel and the amount of frequency available to a system. The wider the bandwidth allocated to a channel, the greater the data rate for a given protocol.

BTS (Base Transceiver Station)

The central radio transmitter/receiver that communicates with mobile devices within a given range (typically a cell site). When a user of a wireless phone makes a call, it is transmitted to the nearest base station, which receives and transmits radio signals in its area, thus acting as a two-way radio. Many base stations are owned by a single carrier for whom they provide exclusive coverage, but may also offer roaming coverage for other networks with a roaming agreement and compatible technology.



A campaign is an organized set of messages with a common objective, but differs from a “Program” in that it is typically temporary with a set end-date.


Provides wireless services to mobile subscribers. (See “MNO”)


Code Division Multiple Access; also known as IS-95. Networks using this technology operate in the ultra-high-frequency (UHF) cellular telephone systems in the 800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands and are primarily used in the Americas and Asia. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technologies. This is one of the newer digital technologies in use in the US, Canada, Australia, and some southeastern Asian countries (e.g. Hong Kong and South Korea). CDMA differs from GSM and TDMA by its use of spread spectrum techniques for transmitting voice or data over the air. Rather than dividing the radio frequency spectrum into separate user channels by frequency slices or time slots, spread spectrum technology separates users by assigning them digital codes within the same broad spectrum. Advantages of CDMA include higher user capacity and immunity from interference by other signals.

CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier)

A telecommunications provider company (also called the “carrier”) that by providing its own network and switching, competes with other already established carriers, generally the ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier).


Special encoding which occurs when messages exceed the character limit in single a SMS, splitting a single long message into smaller messages that are stitched back together at the receiving end. Learn More

Connected Device

This term is an industry catch-all for mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones, e-readers, portable gaming devices and some mobie audio players.

Connection Aggregator

Provide connectivity between carrier networks and application providers.

Content Aggregator

An organization which contracts with an array of content providers and redistribute licensed content.

Content Provider

Content providers are entities that own or have the rights to content. They often license content to application providers for delivery to end users.

Content Type Set

The content typeset within a message is determined by the content of the message itself, such as text (“text/plain”) and SMIL (“application/smil”).


A promotional mechanism that includes a prize and a game of skill. Consideration is allowed, but there can be no element of chance. (MMA Definition)

CSC (Common Short Code)

Short codes that have a base of 5 or 6 digits in length are common across all major carrier networks. There are also 3 and 4 digit codes that are carrier specific only.

CSCA (Common Short Code Administration)

The CSCA ( assigns short codes for use with the same application across multiple wireless service providers. Neustar, Inc. manages CSCA in the United States under an agreement with CTIA.

CTA (Call-to-Action)

Explains how to opt-in to a particular promotion or mobile initiative. Typically promoted in print, web, TV, radio, on-portal, or other forms of media (often embedded in advertising).

CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association)

The Wireless Association is an industry trade group that represents the international wireless telecommunications industry.


Dedicated Short Code

A dedicated short code is leased for exclusive use by only one brand. All of the setup costs and fees associated with a dedicated short code are the responsibility of that one brand. (see Shared Short Code)


The process of getting a mobile program up and running. All of the activities that make a mobile message program ready to be used - code setup on the gateway, message compliance, carrier certification.

Destination Address

Unique address/mobile number which refers to only one destination.

DLR (Delivery Receipt)

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

DMS (Data Messaging Services)

Short data strings for the purpose of sending commands and retrieving information. The data can be sent in binary or hex strings between mobile devices or between an application and a mobile device.

DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Generic term referring to access control technologies utilized by hardware manufacturers, publishers and copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices.



The mobile subscriber who receives, subscribes to or interacts with your mobile service.

ESME (Extrnal Short Message Entity)

An external application that connects to an SMSC to engage in the sending and/or receiving of SMS messages.


Fixed Sender ID

A predetermined numeric sender ID in standard MSISDN format which cannot be modified.

FTEU | Free to End-User

Mobile programs which cost the mobile end-user nothing. The content provider pays for the standard-rated messages so that the mobile end-user is not billed.


GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

GMT was formerly the basis of every world time zone and was positioned at the center of the time zone map. However, UTC has replaced GMT as the global standard. Aerialink’s transaction time stamps report time using UTC standards.

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications)

GSM is the most widely used digital wireless technology in the world. It is approximated that 80 percent of the world uses GSM technology when placing wireless calls. The GSM air interface is based on narrowband TDMA technology, where available frequency bands are divided into time slots, with each user having access to one time slot at regular intervals. Cell phone carriers T-Mobile and AT&T use GSM for their cell phone networks. Sprint, Virgin Mobile and Verizon Wireless use the competing CDMA standard.

GUID (Globally Unique Identifier)

A unique callback ID generated by the gateway for every message transaction.


HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

The underlying communications protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.


Inter-carrier Messaging

This service enables wireless subscribers to send and receive messages based on their phone number (MSISDN/MIN) to and from any wireless network while being in their home markets.


Aerialink coverage and destinations outside of the United States.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

A software application, typically used in conjunction with corporate telephony hardware, which recognizes spoken commands. Typically used for helping callers navigate corporate directories and phonebooks or for other types of menu-driven services. Usually limited in the number of commands that can be recognized.


JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)

A lightweight data-interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write, and for machines to parse and generate. JSON is based on the object notation of the JavaScriptlanguage. However, it does not require JavaScript to read or write because it is a text format that is language independent.



A unique word or number created for a specific messaging program. The keyword is the actual text that a user keys in on their mobile phone to interact with a campaign or program. Multiple keywords can be used on a single code.


LBS (Location-based Services)

Services that identify an approximate location of a person or object through the use of the cellular network. The service gets the location from a GPS chip built into the phone, or using network-based location algorithms based on the signal-strength of the closest cell-phone towers (for phones without GPS features). The large carriers in US and Canada support LBS.

LCA (Local Calling Area)

Geographically based and containing multiple rate centers.

LNP (Local Number Portability)

Allows carry-over of the same number when switching carriers.

Long Code

A standard 10-digit telephone number capable of sending and receiving SMS via an application or service.

Long-Code Program

An SMS or MMS program that utilizes a registered long code as the sender (source address). Long Code programs run on the P2P network.


MASP (Mobile Application Service Provider)

Falls under the technology enabler umbrella in the mobile ecosystem. MASPs are organizations that offer network-based or downloadable applications that enable the business logic behind mobile marketing initiatives.

MDN (Mobile Device Number)

MIN (Mobile Identification Number)


An SMTP based interface where the MMS message is posted to the server as a standard MIME encoded e-mail message.


The SOAP-based MMS standard via which applications submit MMS messages to an MMSC.

MMA (Mobile Marketing Association)

An organization which publishes documents about mobile marketing compliance best-practices and provides its stamp of approval to businesses which exemplify those best practices.

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)

A type of messaging that enables the sending of multimedia content (images, audio, video) in addition to the simple text enabled by Short Message Service (SMS) messages.

MNO (Mobile Network Operator)

A company that provides mobile services and directly licenses wireless radio spectrum. Many MNO companies also own and operate the infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone and other wireless services. A MNO that does not possess frequency spectrum allocation in a particular geographical region may operate and be identified as a Mobile Network Virtual Operator (MVNO) in that region.

MO (Mobile Originated)

Messages sent from a mobile device to an SMSC or MMSC.

Mobile Marketer

A company whose services provide marketing through mobile communications, like a mobile marketing firm or an ASP (Application Service Provider).

Mobile Network

A “mobile carrier,” or “operator,” network is made up of towers that communicate with mobile devices.**
A variety of mobile data technologies support the network, such as CDMA, TDMA, GSM, LTE, EDGE. Furthermore, networks operate at different speeds: 4G networks offer close to broadband speeds for mobile devices. But while 4G is the best and brightest and 3G offers competitive speeds, 2G is what most consumers are still actually using. Since only 2G is required for text messaging, everyone can take advantage of communication via SMS.

Mobile Subscriber

In order to become a mobile subscriber, a consumer must enter into an agreement with a carrier. Once executed, the agreement requires the carrier to provide wireless telecommunications services to the consumer.


A number uniquely identifying a subscription in a GSM or UMTS mobile network. Simply put, it is the telephone number of the SIM card in a mobile/cellular phone.

MT (Mobile Terminated)

Messages sent to a mobile device from an SMSC or MMSC.

MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler)

A company that provides infrastructure and services to enable mobile network operators to offer services and have a relationship with end-user customers.

MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator)

A Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO, is a company that provides mobile services but does not directly license wireless radio spectrum. Also, many MVNO companies do not directly own or operate the infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone and other wireless services.


North American Numbering Plan

The Public Switched Telephone Network for Canada, the United States, U.S. territories and some Caribbean countries

Numeric Sender ID

Default sender type of SMS message in standard MSISDN form. Recipients can reply to messages with a numeric sender ID.


One-time (“Query”) Service

Returns messages to an end-user based on a single prompt and in accordance with the message frequency delineated in their CTA. (i.e., 1msg/query: by sending in a single keyword, the end-user should only receive one message, period, and should receive no future messages unless they send in another keyword.)


The process by which a consumer enters into their subscription to a mobile service. Can be done by web, WAP interface, IVR system or paper.

The process through which a subscriber provides explicit consent to receive messages after receiving notice from the mobile program/initiative.

“Confirmed” Opt-in

After verifying a mobile subscriber’s intention and gaining the subscriber’s explicit agreement to participate in a mobile program/initiative, the opt-in is considered “confirmed.”

Double Opt-in

Confirms a mobile subscriber’s wish to participate in a mobile program by requesting that the subscriber opt-in twice before receiving any content. This is a requirement of premium services as well as many other types.In the case of double opt-in, appropriate responses to confirmation are YES, Y, GO, OKAY, OK, K, O.K., SURE, YEP, YEAH.

Triple Opt-in

required after a consumer spends in excess of a specified amount on a single premium short code service(usually some multiple of $25 which varies depending on the type of service subscribed to), and then repeatedly after every subsequent $25 spent.


The process by which a mobile subscriber cancels their subscription to a mobile service, via texting STOP, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE or QUIT to the short code. By opting out of a services, a subscriber is revoking their consent to receive messages after receiving notice from the mobile program/initiative. An opt-out process could take the form of a subscriber replying to an SMS message with the keyword “stop,” or any other designated opt-out keyword designated by the service.

If mobile device becomes completely inactive for eight months (no MO’s, no MT’s), it will automatically opt-out of any services.


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


PEWC is an FCC TCPA term that refers to a clear and conspicuous agreement in text containing verifiable, time-stamped and signed or e-signed proof that an end-user has authorized a seller or content provider to deliver or facilitate the delivery of live or prerecorded telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic phone or text dialing system to their phone number. As a part of giving this consent and meeting TCPA requirements, the end-user must be informed prior to consenting that their consent to receive calls or texts is not a condition of purchasing any property, goods or services.

P2P (Person-to-Person)

Mobile messages sent from one mobile user to another are “P2P.” This is generally expected to be conversational messaging between two consumers and is defined narrowly in the U.S. and Canada by telecom regulations. It does not include business texting or automated communication.

Premium-Rate Messaging

Requires a double opt-in by subscribers, billing them beyond the standard SMS rate charged by their mobile plan. Aerialink does not support Premium-Rate messaging at this time.


A grouping of messages and/or codes that share a theme or business objective as well as a connection configuration. Multiple long-codes can be linked to a single program, but a single program can only be linked to one short code at a time. Linking code(s) to a Program allows for the analysis of associated metrics, which is useful as programs–unlike campaigns–are typically on-going with no predetermined end date.


The special set of rules used for communication between end-points in a telecommunications connection.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)


QR Code

A machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.

Queued Messages

Messages/transactions arriving at a processing center are placed in a “queued status,” waiting in line for their turn to go through.


Random CSC

A CSC (Common Short Code) that is assigned by the CSCA Registry on a random basis from the pool of available CSCs.

Rate Center

A geographic area associated with specific NPA/NXX codes, used by Local Exchange Carriers to set rate boundaries for billing and issuing phone numbers.

Recurring (“Subscription-based”) Service

Sends a set quantity of messages to an end-user per a standard, predetermined time-frame. (i.e., 1msg/month: the user will receive one message per month until the service stops or they unsubscribe).


Sanctioned Traffic

Messaging traffic that is registered and running on carrier approved routes. All entities sending messaging traffic must be registered before their traffic will be approved for delivery. Each number type (short code, long code, toll free) has a different registration process. The Aerialink team can help you and provide you full registration details.


The ability to grow to accommodate more traffic when necessary

Sender ID

The “from” number that appears on the end-user device, be it long code, short code or alphanumeric

Shared Short Code

A short code running multiple mobile services and/or marketing campaigns simultaneously. Campaigns are differentiated by keywords

Short Code

A 5 or 6 digit number that can send and receive SMS and MMS messages, allowing consumers to interact with and access a wide variety of mobile content through text messaging. Short Codes must be carrier-certified, and are leased and administered by the CSCA.

Short-Code Program

An SMS or MMS program that utilizes a short code as the sender (source address) and the primary means of opt-in. Short code programs run on the A2P network and support 2 way messaging. The use case, content, message flow and supporting Call to Action for a short code program requires carrier testing and certification.


The signaling protocol used between VoIP networks to establish, control and terminate voice calls

SME (Short Message Entity)

Source and receiver points for SMS messages. SMEs always communicate with an SMSC and never with each other. An SME can be a mobile device or an application. Depending on the role of the mobile phone in the communication, there are two kinds of SMS messages: Mobile-originated (MO) messages and Mobile-terminated (MT) messages.

SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language)

SMPP (Short Message Peer-to-Peer)

An open message-transfer protocol that enables short message entities (SMEs) outside the mobile network to interface with an SMSC.

SMS (Short Message Service)

Commonly referred to as “text messaging,” SMS messages are sent from, to or between mobile devices through an SMSC (see below). The length of an SMS message is restricted by character limit which differs from country to country.

SMS Gateway

An SMS gateway is a telecommunications network facility for sending or receiving Short Message Service (SMS) transmissions to or from a telecommunications network that supports SMS. Most messages are eventually routed into the mobile phone networks. Many SMS gateways support media conversion from email and other formats.

SMSC (SMS Center)

The SMSC is a network entity. It is responsible for handling the SMS operations of a wireless network. The main duty of an SMSC is to route SMS messages, regulate the delivery process and solve the different technologies and communications protocol problems between 2 networks. When the originator SMSC receives an SMS message, it gets the routing information from the recipient wireless network & delivers the SMS message to the recipient mobile phone directly. An SMSC will store the message if the mobile is unavailable. The SMSC is often located inside the wireless system of an operator or a 3rd-party system. An SMS message may need to pass through more than one network entity (e.g. SMSC and SMS gateway) to reach the destination mobile. An SMS gateway acts as a relay between the two SMSCs.

SPID (Service Profile Identifier)

In communications routing, a SPID is a unique Service Provider identification used for identity management. Service providers are registered with SPID Registration Authorities (SRAs) around the world and are assigned unique SPID(s) Identifiers, which are then used with “trust resources” furnished by the providers to gain assurance in proceeding with the transaction.

Source Address

The registered long code or short code of the event gateway. Identifies the sender of outgoing messages to the SMSC.


A mobile end-user associated to a specific mobile device number.

Synchronous Mode

Each side of the SMPP client has only one outstanding transaction at a time (e.g. a client waits to receive an acknowledgement that the messages has been received by the server before sending the next message), allowing messages to be sent one after the other.



Audience can text a mobile keyword followed by a message to a designated number/code which then can be projected onto a large screen in real time. It provides an interactive experience with instant feedback, and promotes active participation.

Tiers: Carriers

Tier 1 Carriers have all their own towers and provide services directly to consumers/businesses

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Carriers make use of Tier 1 towers and services, going through them to provide to consumers/businesses


The number of messages processed over a given interval of time. A typical throughput metric in SMS is stated in terms of messages per second (mps). US and Canadian Short Code programs typically have a throughput rate of 40 mps, while US and Canadian Long Code programs should have a throughput rate of no more than 1 mps. International Long Code programs should be at a throughput rate of no more than 10 mps. (see “Queued Messages”)

TN (Telephone Number)

TRAI (Telephone Regulatory Authority of India)

The independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India


Unsanctioned Traffic

Messaging traffic that is not registered. Aerialink has been working with our customers to register and transition their traffic to the newly established sanctioned routes.

Upstream Gateway

Any SMSC, be it the Aerialink Gateway or that of a third party or a network operator

User Data Header (UDH)

UDH is a binary structure which may be present at the start of a short message in the Short Message Service in GSM. It does not contain any text, but it specifies how the message should be formatted and processed. UDH can be used to form concatenated SMS.

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time)

The primary standard for global time today. It is a twenty-four-hour standard kept by a combination of precise atomic clocks and a measure of the rotation of the Earth.


Vanity Short Code

A “selected” 5-6 digit number for a Dedicated Common Short Code (CSC) which may correspond to a word on typical phone’s keypad, or a number pattern. In the U.S.,vanity codes cost more to lease than random short codes. Selected CSCs are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis from the pool of available CSCs.

VoIP (Voice over IP)

Term used in IP telephony for a set of facilities for managing the delivery of voice information using the Internet Protocol (IP).


WAP Push

A specially formatted SMS with a URL linking to a website or WAP address in its header. On receiving a WAP Push, a compatible handset will automatically give the user the option to access the WAP content.

Wireless Carrier

(See “MNO”)

Wireless Telemetry

Wireless Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication, not including traditional data or voice-centric devices. Examples of wireless telemetry applications include:

  • asset tracking
  • point-of-sale
  • vending
  • arcade games
  • supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)
  • traffic monitoring applications