Terminology

Accessibility Lens – image definition.

Wireless Service Provider (WSP) is the wireless service company that provides wireless internet service which allows you to have data or voice access on your smartphone. Examples of WSP are Bell Mobility, Rogers, and Telus Mobility.

Service contract or Service agreement is a contractual agreement with a WSP company. The agreement states you as a customer can receive wireless service access at the agreed service price on a monthly basis or pre-paid plan for a term time period.

Details of a typical agreement that covers:

  1. a duration of 1 year, 2 years, or month-to-month
  2. the agreed price on a monthly basis
  3. the amount of data per month, measured in MB or GB
  4. the amount of minutes for voice plan
  5. the number of text messages for messaging plan
  6. a bundled plan for a combination of data, voice and/or messaging
  7. start and end dates of the agreement

Pre-paid plan is a plan which you agree to pay a specific amount per month on a plan – whichever service is needed; data, messaging, voice, etc…

For example, you pay $50 a month for a plan, and the limit is reached. Your smartphone will not work until the next month.

In some cases, some WSPs allow unused balance carried over to the next month’s balance and you pay the difference.

Text only plan is a service agreement that allows you to send or receive text messages over the wireless network. Wireless internet access will be unavailable.


Data plan is a service that allows you to have wireless internet access. You could send or receive emails, look up on the Internet, use GPS maps, watch videos, play games, and use apps such as Facebook. WSP sets limited MB or GB for usage per month to data plan.

Megabyte and Gigabyte is a measure of a memory capacity that stores a large amount of digital information data. The definition of “byte” is a unit of memory capacity that stores data. Megabyte is 1 million bytes in one unit; Gigabyte is 1 billion bytes in one unit.

Byte = 1 byte
Kilobyte = 1024 byte
Megabyte = 1024 KB
Gigabyte = 1024 MB

Data can be stored in a capacity or transferred from one point to another point.

Stored data can be found in a computer or a device. The stored data can be found in a laptop, a smartphone, a tablet, an external drive, or an USB flash drive, but is not measured by a WSP. You purchase a devices based on your preferences.

Transferred data can happen through an electrical conductor like a modem with an ethernet wire. The recent modern technology is “wireless” which means transferring data from one point to another point through electromagnetic or radio waves in the air, without electrical conductor.

Transferred data is transmitted through internet connection or wireless internet connection. A WSP measures the amount of data in megabytes and gigabytes based on your usage, which is uploading from and downloading data to a device.

A smartphone is a mobile phone with advanced mobile operating system which combines features of a personal computer built-in operating systems that are useful for handheld use. The combination of a cell phone, personal digital assistances (PDAs), GPS navigation unit, media player, camera, and other features allows you access internet, emails, and use apps such as music, GPS maps, photography, videos, Skype, and FaceTime.

Mobile wireless is a transmission over the air from a base station tower to a moving smartphone, cellphone, tablet or laptop that allows you to make calls or use the internet outside of your home or office. This is made possible by companies such as Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility.

Wi-Fi is a local area wireless computer network technology that allows your smartphones connect directly from an access point within a range. The access point can be a wireless router at home or at a small office, WiFi ‘hotspots’ in a public setting like library or coffee shops, a wireless network for a large office, or a base station with antennas.

A locked phone is a smartphone that will work only with a network of service provider that sold the smartphone to a customer. For example, an iPhone purchased at a Rogers store is limited only to Rogers’ wireless network.

The locked phone will have a software code that will prevent you from using the other WSP network. Sometimes people find a way to jailbreak devices like iPhone or iPod to bypass manufacturer or WSP restrictions to have a greater freedom to use other WSP network or unauthorized apps. This is not a recommended method to bypass restrictions because it could lead to damages to your device, which might stop working or allow hackers/criminals plant malicious code on your jailbroken device.

If you would like to bypass your locked smartphone, contact your WSP to find out about their policy and they might provide a code to unlock your smartphone. The permission happen depending on your situation:

  1. the phone is fully paid as per service agreement; or
  2. you are a customer in a good standing; in other words, the bills are paid on time monthly and you have met all other criteria in the service agreement.

An unlocked phone is a smartphone that paid in full without a service contract to a company. The smartphone will work with any wireless network of WSP when a SIM card is provided. Also, the smartphone will work within the range of a Wi-Fi.

Jailbreak is a method of hacking into smartphones or devices to access operating systems in order to run unauthorized apps or get on a different WSP network. A software program or a piece of hardware could be used to jailbreak a device.

SIM card is known as a “Subscriber Identity Module” and is a smart card that is stored in a cellular phone that carries an identification number unique to an owner, stores personal data, and prevents operation if removed.

A voice-removed plan is a request for wireless providers to willingly remove voice minute or voice plan from your service contract.

A voice-credited plan is when WSP credit unused voice minutes/plan towards to the end of the billing cycle. This is due to requiring to keep voice activated in case of emergency required for Text with 911.

Text with 911 is for 9-1-1 call centres and/or emergency services with the ability to communicate with a DHHSI person during an emergency, using wireless text messaging (SMS). TextWith911 link

Service Accessibility is a design of environment that accommodates Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers receiving services from a service retailer. In the case of telecommunications industry, the service retailer must be able to provide written information or communicate through sign language interpreters upon request. Services must be barrier-free according to the Wireless Code.

Wireless Code is a set of legal standards regulated by the CRTC that WSP must follow and that customers – as an individual or a small business – understand clear and fair contracts for their cell phones and other mobile devices. Customers’ rights and responsibilities of wireless services are explained in plain language. CRTC Wireless Code link

CRTC is an acronym for Canadian Radio and Television Commission, which is a public organization that regulates and supervises the broadcasting and telecommunications systems to make sure that Canadians have fair access to a world class communications system. CRTC link

CCTS is an acronym for Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, which is an independent organization that supports customers to work and resolve complaints with the wireless/telecommunications services. CCTS also makes sure that WSP follow the Wireless Code. Their collection of data of Wireless Code related complaints are reviewed and published on the CCTS-CPRST link

CWTA is an acronym for Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. The organization represents wireless companies. CWTA link

Functional equivalency communication is a term that describes what Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind citizen requires in order to live his/her life just the same as a regular hearing person in the Canadian society. For example where a hearing person has free voice minutes in the evenings, what is the equivalent of that for deaf people? Increased allowances of data for the purposes of video communication.

Throttling is an intentional slowing of data flow to and from devices by WSP.

Throttling is not allowing the ease of access for video calls. An example of throttling is very blurry video communication sending & receiving when you near your data GB limit for the month.

Network Management is a system of wired and wireless networks through a single interface handling data and voice calls. WSP administers the network management and is allowed to use the throttling method to control the data flow within their networks.

SMS is Short Messaging Service that people use to send texts through WSP networks. Consumers can send limited or unlimited amount of texts because it is separate from data plan.

MMS is Multimedia Messaging Service that you send pictures or videos to your contacts through a texting app. This is a part of your data plan so it will count against your data usage limit. The higher resolution of a picture or a video the more data will be consumed. This is something consumers have to be careful with when using their smartphones or other devices.

Introduction to Wireless Levels (4G-LTE, 3G, 2G-EDGE, GSM)

4G-LTE is a phrase with two definitions: 4G is a 4th generation wireless communications standard developed for cellular networks; and LTE is an acronym for Long Term Evolution. This standard allows for faster downloads and for consumers watch movies and have video communications “on the go”.

3G is a third generation wireless communications standards developed for cellular networks. This is standard is slower but best for browsing on the internet as well as emailing on the mobile devices.

The 1st generation was the analogue cellular network and the 2nd generation was the PCS Personal Communications Services. Both generations were much slower cellular networks with limited functions.

EDGE is an acronym for Enhanced Data GSM Environment, which allowed for a faster data service.

GSM is an acronym for Global Systems of Mobile Communications, which was first introduced in 1991 and became a standard in over 100 countries by 1997. This would be a part of the 2nd generation network.

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