Telecom Glossary

  • 2G: Second generation mobile technology (GSM, CDMA 1x), this is the first generation of digital phone system as is significantly more efficient than prior analog wireless systems.
  • 3G: Third Generation of mobile technologies. 3G decreased spectrum costs, enabled customers to achieve higher data transmission rates (mobile systems: more than 384 kpbs; stationary systems: more than 2 Mbps) and improved efficiency in the use of spectrum. Comes in different transmission formats such as W-CDMA, UMTS, CDMA 2000, TD-CDMA, DECT and Mobile WiMAX.
  • 3GPP: (Third Generation Partnership Project). An international umbrella group for telecom regulation coordination.
  • 4G: Fourth Generation of mobile technologies. 4G decreased spectrum costs even beyond 3G. It enables customers to achieve higher data transmission rates – as high as 1GB/Sec.
  • 5G: Fifth Generation of mobile technology. It has not ye been standardized.
  • Access Point: A point where connections can be made for testing or using particular communications circuits. A junction point in outside plant consists of a semipermanent splice at a junction between a branch feeder cable and distribution cables.
  • Advance Publication Information (“API”): The general description of the satellite network network that must be provided by an Administration to the ITU as the first step toward bringing a satellite network into use in the non-Plan bands. This information is published in a special section of the ITU’s fortnightly International Frequency Information Circular (IFIC) and is issued to all ITU members to review its characteristics and assess its likely impact on existing or planned networks.
  •  AMPS: Advanced Mobile Phone Service – analog cell phone systems (largely phased-out in the US).
  • AMTS: A commercial mobile telecom service used in the US. It is located within the VHF band at 216-220 MHz. Originally intended for inland commercial waterways (and up to 12 miles off the coast), the FCC now allows it to be used over land with some restrictions to avoid interference with television channel 13.
  • ATC: Ancillary Terrestrial Component. Using satellite telephony spectrum to let MSS provide service terrestrially at the same time as using it to provide service via satellite. The use of ATCs in Mobile Satellite Services was introduced in 2003.
  • AWS: Advanced Wireless Spectrum: 1710 to 1755 MHZ for uplink and 2110 to 2155 for downlink. In the United States this was broken-up into six blocks (A-F) that have been subject to auctions since 2006.
  • Bandplan: A regulatory plan for using frequencies in a certain frequency band. It includes numerous technical details about the band including the channel division, licensing, modulation and other details.
  • Bandwidth: The range of frequencies within a specific frequency band, used for transmitting a signal.
  • Base Station: In mobile communication, a base station is the fixed station the the mobile device communicates with.
  • Bit: Abbreviation for “binary digit.” A fundamental unit of digital communication. It is also the smallest unit of data in digital communications. A bit has a single binary value, either 0 or 1.
  • Bit Error Ratio (BER): The number of erroneous bits divided by the total number of bits transmitted, received, or processed.  BER is usually expressed as a coefficient and a power of 10. For example, 3.5 erroneous bits out of 100,000 bits transmitted would be 3.5 out of 105 or 3.5 × 10-5.
  • Bring Into Use (“BIU”) Date: The date by which a satellite operator must place a satellite capable of transmitting and receiving frequencies specified in its ITU filing into the specified orbital slot, in order to avoid having its filing expire.
  • Broadcast Satellite Services (“BSS”): A radio communication service in which signals transmitted or retransmitted by space stations are intended for direct reception by the general public.
  • BRS: Broadband Radio Service: Used for general-purpose networking. Uses microwave frequencies between 2.5 and 2.7 GHz. Increasingly in demand for mobile wireless applications.
  • Byte: A sequence of bits that a computer can operate as a single unit. A byte contains has 8 bits.
  • Capital Asset Pricing Model (“CAPM”): A widely accepted method of determining weighted average cost of capital by comparing the relative volatility of a particular company of its publicaly traded peers.
  • Capital Expenditures (“CAPEX”): Expenses that are expected to be used over a long period of time and thus listed on the organization’s balance sheet as assets which are typically depreciated over multiple years, as opposed to immediately expensed.
  • C-band: 3.4 to 4.3 GHz (receive) and 4.25 to 6.425 GHz (transmit). Used primarily for satellite transmission and desirable in tropical areas due to its resistance to rain fade. Many countries are considering reallocating the lower portion of the receive band for terrestrial broadband.
  • CEPT: European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations. A European regional coordinating body for European telecom and postal issues.
  • CDMA: (Code Division Multiple Access). A spread-spectrum technology that allows multiple users to transmit over the same physical frequency channel, but prevents interference by coding each transmission.
  • CEPT: (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administration). European regional telecommunication regulating body.
  • CITL: (Inter-American Telecommunication Commission). A regional telecom coordinating body for the Americas.
  • Communications Act of 1934: Authorized the creation of the FCC.
  • Compound Annual Growth Rate (“CAGR”): The mean annual growth rate, typically of an investment, over a specified period of time longer than one year.
  • Control Premium: The premium a buyer pays for a company to obtain a control position as opposed to a minority interest. It is applicable when a holder of a controlling interest would be able to implement changes to increase the value of the company that would not otherwise be realizable.
  • Direct To Home (“DTH”): Provision of satellite vide services to residential customers.
  • Discount for Lack of Marketability (“DLOM”): The amount by which the value of a business ownership interest is reduced to reflect the lack of its marketability.
  • Discounted Cash Flow (“DCF”): A method of valuing a company, project, or asset using the concepts of the time value of money. Future estimated cash flows are discounted by using cost of capital to derive their present values (PVs).
  • Downlink: Transmission from the satellite to a receiver on land, air or sea.
  • Duplex Gap: The space between the uplink and downlink frequencies in paired spectrum
  • EBS: Educational Broadcasting System.
  • EDGE: (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). An advanced version of GPRS.
  • Downlink: Transmission from the base station to the user.
  • Extended C-band: 6425-6725 MHz (Uplink) / 3400-3625 MHz (Downlink).
  • Fair Market Value (“FMV”): The price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts. The fair market value of a particular item of property… is not to be determined by a forced sale price. Nor is the fair market value of an item of property to be determined by the sale price of the item in a market other than that in which such item is most commonly sold to the public, taking into account the location of the item wherever appropriate.1
  • FCC: The Federal Communications Commission. An independent agency of the U.S. government that works in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the media, public safety and homeland security.
  • FDD: Frequency Division Duplexing. A technology that uses different frequencies for the send and receive signals to minimize interference. FDD is the most common duplexing technology in the United States. This is in contract with TDD (Time Division Duplexing).
  • Fixed Satellite Service (“FSS”): A radio-communication service between earth stations at given positions, when one or more satellites are used; the given position may be a specified fixed point or any fixed point within specified areas; in some cases this service includes satellite-to-satellite links, which may also be operated in the inter-satellite service; the fixed- satellite service may also include feeder links for other space radio-communication services.
  • Geostationary Communications Satellite: A communications satellite in geostationary orbit around the Earth appears stationary as viewed from Earth, so that antennas on the ground that communicate with it do not have to move, but can be pointed permanently at the fixed location in the sky where the satellite appears.
  • Geostationary Orbit (“GSO”): A circular orbit around the Earth’s equator at zero degree inclination and an altitude of 22,300 miles.
  • Gigabyte (“GB”): GigaByte, 10^18 bytes.
  • Gigabit (“Gb”): Gigabit, 10^18 bits. Note: A byte has 8 bits.
  • Gigabits per second (“Gbps”): (10^18 bytes) per second.GPS: Global Positioning Satellite. A satellite systems run by the U.S. defense department. It emits a timing signal that can be triangulated to determine geographic position.
  • Gigahertz (“GHz”): A frequency measurement of one billion hertz. One megahertz is the frequency where radio wave have one million wave cycles (hertz) per second. In terms of measurement, the frequencies between, for example, 5 GHz and 6 GHz is one gigahertz of spectrum.
  • GPRS: General Packet Radio Service. GSM (see above) expanded for data.
  • Greenfield DCF: A discounted cash flow analysis (DCF) of an business or project where no operations have started (greenfield) and all inputs must be based on market assumptions as opposed to actual operating history.
  • Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”): is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced in a country during a specific time period, usually a year. GDP is a common measure of economic development.
  • GSM: Global System for Mobile Communication. A standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute for protocols for second generation (2G) mobile phones.
  • GWCS: General Wireless Communication Service. A communications band at 4.660 to 4.685 GHz.
  • Harmful Interference: Interference which endangers the functioning, or seriously degrades, obstructs, or repeatedly interrupts a radio-communication service operating in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations.
  • Hertz: one hertz is one frequency wave. Frequency is frequently referred to by the number of waves (hertz) produced in a second.
  • High Throughput Satellite (“HTS”): a classification for communications satellites that provide substantially more (usually by at least factor of 20) the total throughput of a classic FSS satellite for the same amount of allocated orbital spectrum thus significantly reducing cost-per-bit.
  • HSDPA: High Speed Downlink Packet Access. An enhanced 3G (3rd generation) mobile communications protocol in the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) grouping. It is also referred to as 3.5G, 3G+, or Turbo 3G. HSDPA allows Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks to have greater capacity and higher data speeds. As of 2013 HSDPA deployments can support down-link speeds up to 99.3 Mbps.  HSPA+ offers additional speed increases –  up to 337.5 Mbit/s with Release 11 of the 3GPP standards.
  • HSPA: High Speed Packet Access. is an combination of two mobile telephony protocols, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). HSPA improves and extends performance of existing 3G mobile networks utilizing the WCDMA protocol.
  • HSUPA: High Speed Uplink Packet Acccess. HSUPA is a 3G mobile protocol in the HSPA grouping. It provides up-link speeds up to 5.76 Mbps. The official 3GPP name for “HSUPA” is Enhanced Uplink (EUL).
  • ICT: Information and Communications Technology. It is a broad term that encompasses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and media.
  • IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
  • INTERSPUTNIK (“IK”): An international satellite organization whose membership is comprised of 26 nations and whose notifying administration to the ITU is Russia.
  • International Telecommunication Union (“ITU”): A United Nations treaty organization comprised of 193 member countries and approximately 700 affiliate organizations, NGOs and private companies, whose responsibilities include the international regulation of the geostationary orbit and associated radio frequency spectrum.
  • ITU Radio Regulations: Part of the ITU Administrative Regulations and Instruments in addition to the ITU Constitution and Convention which govern the international use of telecommunications among ITU treaty members.
  • Investment Value: The value to a particular investor, based on individual investment requirements, as distinguished from the concept of market value, which is impersonal and detached.
  • IP: Internet Protocol. IP is the method data is sent from one computer to another via the Internet or other dedicated, private IP network.
  • ITU: (International Telecommunications Union). Global coordinating body for radio spectrum. The ITU is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • ITU-R: The division of the ITU that handles most spectrum issues.
  • Ka-band: 26.5 to 40 GHz. This satellite band has historically suffered from significant weather related interference. However, new higher-powered satellites over the past 10 to 15 years have largely overcome this problem. This band is heavily used in state of the art satellite broadband systems.
  • Ku-band: 12 to 18 GHz. Used primarily in satellite communications. Most commercial satellite television signals in the United States and Europe are transmitted in Ku-band. Although not as resistant to rain fade as C-band, its higher frequency allows consumers to use much smaller reception antennas.
  • L-band: 1452.96 to 1492.624 MHz. Used for satellite applications including satellite radio and MSS applications.
  • LMS: Location Monitoring Services. It utilizes non-voice radio techniques to determine the location and status of mobile radio units.
  • LMDS: Local Multipoint Distribution Service. Used for broadband wireless. Originally intended for wireless digital television. Uses the 31.0 to 31.3 GHz frequency. Now being considered for broadband backhaul and last mile broadband access in certain areas.
  • LTE: Long Term Evolution. A fourth generation version of GSM with data rates as high as 1 GB/Sec.
  • LORAN: (LOng RAnge Navigation). A low frequency timing and positioning system that has largely been replaced by global positioning satellites (GPS).
  • M2M: Machine-to-Machine. M2M typically refers to communications between a computer network and a machine without a person involved. M2M communication is often used for remote monitoring of equipment or other assets.
  • Megabyte (“MB”): MegaByte, 10^6 bytes.
  • Megabit (“Mb”): Megabit, 10^6 bits. Note: A  byte contains 8 bits.
  • Megahertz (“MHz”): A frequency measurement of one million hertz. One megahertz is the frequency where radio wave have one million wave cycles (hertz) per second. In terms of measurement, the frequencies between, for example, 5 MHz and 6 MHz are one gigahertz.
  • MBB: Mobile Broadband. The marketing term used for Internet access through mobile telephone. It typically included CDMA2000, EV-DO, HSPA, LTE, Mobile WiMax and TD-SCDMA.
  • M-LMS: Multlateration LMS (see LMS above). Multilateration LMS systems are authorized to transmit status and instructional messages, either voice or non-voice, so long as they are related to the location or monitoring functions of the system.
  • MMDS: Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (see BRS).
  • Mobile PC: A laptop or desktop PC with a built-in cellular model or an external USB dongle.
  • Mobile Satellite Services (“MSS”): (Mobile Satellite Services). For provision of mobile services using satellites. Only since the introduction of ATCs in Mobile Wireless Services in 2003 has there been an integration of both satellite and terrestrial uses in one frequency band. Bands that provide MSS are the S-band and L-band.
  • Narrowbanding: A regulatory reduction in the amount of spectrum allocated to a frequency band.
  • National Information and Communications Technology Authority (“NICTA”): The regulatory agency for the government of Papua New Guinea.
  • NTIA: (National Telecommunications and Information Administration). An agency within the department of commerce that regulates and administers spectrum allocated for government use.
  • Ofcom: The British telecom regulatory body.
  • Operating Expenditures (“OPEX”): Expenses incurred for the normal operations of a project as opposed to building a capital asset (“Capital Expenditures”).
  • Orbital Slot: The location in space allocated for a satellite in a specific frequency band. An Orbital Slot filing with the ITU provides the holder with international recognition to operate a communications satellite at a particular longitudinal position in geostationary orbit, transmitting and receiving signals at specific radio frequencies in coordination with nearby satellites using the same radio frequencies to avoid causing harmful interference to each other.
  • Over The Top (“OTT”): The delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content. The Internet provider may be aware of the contents of the Internet Protocol packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities, copyrights, and/or other redistribution of the content.
  • Paired Spectrum: Spectrum that is allocated in two blocks, one authorized for uplink transmission and one authorized for downlink transmission.
  • Paper Filing: An ITU filing by an Administration for an orbital slot without having a specific project in the planning stage for the use of the slot.
  •  PCAST: President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In 2012, this group issued an influential report recommending spectrum sharing as a means to increase spectral efficiency.
  • PCS: (Personal Communication Services). In North America, wireless voice and data services on the 1850 to 1990 MHz band.
  • Plan (AP30B) C-band: 6725-7025 MHz (Uplink) / 4500-4800 MHz (Downlink).
  • Plan FSS (AP30B) Ku-band: 12.75-13.25 MHz (Uplink) / 10.7-10.95, 11.2-11.45 MHz (Downlink).
  • Plan BSS Ku-band: 17.3-18.1 GHz (Region 1&3 Uplink), 17.3-17.8 GHz (Uplink Region 2), 14.5- 14.8 GHz (Uplink Region 1&3 except Europe) / 11.7-12.2 GHz (Downlink Region 3), 11.7-12.5 GHz (Downlink Region 1), 12.2-12.7 GHz (Downlink Region 2).
  • Provisional Notification (“PN”): For cases in which coordination has been attempted but for various reasons cannot be successfully completed.

  • Radio Frequency (“RF”): Typically refers to spectrum between 3 kHz and 300 GHz.
  • Replacement Cost: the cost to replace an asset of a company at the same or equal value; in this case, the asset to be replaced would be a satellite. The replacement cost can change, depending on changes in market value of the asset and any other costs required to prepare the asset for use.
  • S-band: 2 to 4 GHz. Used for satellite MSS applications. Portions are licensed for terrestrial use in the US (AWS-3 band).
  • Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (“SG&A”): the sum of all direct and indirect selling expenses and all general and administrative expenses of a company.
  • Smart Radio: A radio that can use multiple frequencies and determine the appropriate frequency to use based on the design criteria.
  • Standard C-band: 5850-6425 MHz (Uplink) / 3700-4200 MHz (Downlink); 5725-5850 MHz (Uplink Region 1); 3400-3625 MHz (Downlink Region 2).
  • Time Division Duplexing (“TDD”): A technology that separates the send and receive signals by time. This technology is advantageous when usage is asymmetrical. TDD is common in China.
  • TD-SCDMA: Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access.  TD-SCDMA is a wireless interface found in UMTS mobile telecommunications networks in China as an alternative to W-CDMA used in other regions. TD-CDMA and W-CDMA are the two time-division duplex (TDD) UMTS air interfaces. These are known commonly as UMTS-TDD or more formally as IMT-2000 CDMA-TDD or IMT 2000 Time-Division (IMT-TD).
  • Time Division Multiple Access (“TDMA”). A channel access method that allows users to share the same frequency by dividing transmissions into different time slots.
  • Tracking,Telemetry and Command(“TT&C”):Functions performed by the satellite control operators to maintain health and status, measure specific performance parameters and processing over time.
  • Transponder: A device on a satellite for receiving a signal an automatically retransmitting it back to earth on a different frequency.
  • TransponderEquivalent(“TPE”): 36MHz of satellite spectrum on a transponder.
  • UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. A 3G version of GMS (see above).
  • Uplink: transmission from a user device on land air or sea to the base station .
  • VHF: Very High Frequency. Refers to radio waves between 30 and 300 MHz. Common uses are FM radio, television broadcasting (Channel 13 and under) and commercial land mobil radio.
  • VOIP (“Voice over IP”): Voice telephony service through Internet protocol.
  • VPC: VHF Public Coast. A portion of the VHF band used
  • VSAT: (Very Small Aperture Terminal). A small satellite dish used for a variety of satellite communications needs including corporate networks.
  • W-CDMA: Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. Radio access technology used in UMTS networks.
  • from a user devices on land air or sea.Wi-Fi: A format for transmitting broadband data across short distances to unlicensed consumer devices.
  • WCS: Wireless Communication Services.
  • Weighted Average Cost of Capital (“WACC”): The average cost of capital for an organization including the cost of debt and equity and the tax implications of debt payment. Typically, the WACC represents a minimum economic return hurdle a company must meet to justify its existence.
  • White Spaces: Unused frequency in the broadcasting bandplan.
  • Weighted Average Cost of Capital (“WACC”): The average cost of capital for an organization including the cost of debt and equity and the tax implications of debt payment. Typically, the WACC represents a minimum economic return hurdle a company must meet to justify its existence.
  • WiMAX: Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. A format/standard for information transmission, mainly to provide fixed wireless broadband services. WiMAX can be used in a variety of spectrum bands, such as 700 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz, although the main ones for which there is support are the WCS and BRS bands.
  • WRC: (World Radio Conference). A event run by the ITU that revises and reviews Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio spectrum and satellite orbits.
  • X-band: 8.0-12.0 GHz.
  • V-band: 40 – 75 GHz.
  • VSAT: (“Very Small Aperture Terminal”). A small satellite dish used for a variety of satellite communications needs including corporate networks.