Managed Mobility Services (MMS) and Telecom Expense Management (TEM) – Terms & Acronyms

Expense Management Terms

Quick Reference Guide:

The telecommunications world – like the military – is replete with acronyms and an endless stream of abbreviated terms that serve as shorthand to those “in-the-club,” so-to-speak.  

Although this may bring comfort or validation to those within the industry, it can also serve as a reminder or signal to those new to the Telecom Expense Management TEM Industry that they are less “in-the-know” and can potentially be off-putting.  

Since these terms and industry shorthand aren’t going anywhere, we decided to create a quick reference list of terms and abbreviations you can use to navigate any telecom or mobility-related conversation. 

In this blog, let’s get started on some standard telecom terminology and acronyms that are commonly used within the TEM industry. We will compile an ongoing list over time and include within our website  as a resource that can be used primarily for Telecom Expense Management and/or MMS reference purposes.  

Telecom & Technology - Industry Terms

Terms

Definitions

ATIS: Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions

This is a membership organization that provides the tools for the industry to identify standards, guidelines and operating procedures, such as the 811 Consolidated Service Invoice/Statement Guideline and the Level 9 Line Detail that supports usage and charge details.

Access Charge (FCC Definition)

A fee charged subscribers or other telephone companies by a local exchange carrier for the use of its local exchange networks.

AD: Active Directory

Microsoft’s directory service for Windows domains.

ADFS: Active Directory Federation Services

A software component developed by Microsoft, which can be installed on Windows Server operating systems to provide users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across organizational boundaries.

AE: Application Engineer

A combination of an engineer and sales specialist who manages technical support for customers.

Analog Signal (FCC Definition)

A signaling method that uses continuous changes in the amplitude or frequency of a radio transmission to convey information.

AP: Accounts Payable

The outgoing payments of a business to its partners and suppliers, listed as liabilities on a balance sheet.

API: Application Program Interface

Within the telecommunications world, this refers to a set of standard software functions that an application can use to operate the networking architecture. The API forms the interface between the application and the resources within a device.

AR: Accounts Receivable

The incoming payments from customers and partners, listed as assets on a balance sheet. 

Audit and Optimization

Within the TEM industry, this refers to audit and optimization services that seek to either validate current pricing or explore opportunities for more effective and/or cheaper services.

Bandwidth (FCC Definition)

The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals. The necessary bandwidth is the amount of spectrum required to transmit the signal without distortion or loss of information. FCC rules require suppression of the signal outside the band to prevent interference.

Binary File

Any attachment such as a .pdf, or various other types of documents.

Boolean Field

A True/False or Yes/No field in programming.

BPA: Business Process Analysis

An analysis technique for describing how certain processes work and how employees solve problems.

BPO: Business Process Outsourcing

The way modern businesses deploy specialized partners for the most highly technical work.

Broadband (FCC Definition)

roadband is a descriptive term for evolving digital technologies that provide consumers a signal switched facility offering integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video-demand services, and interactive delivery services.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device

This is where an employee is allowed to use their personally owned device for business purposes; this is opposed to being required to use a corporate-owned device for their business purposes.

Calling Party Pays (FCC Definition)

A billing method in which a wireless phone caller pays only for making calls and not for receiving them. The standard American billing system requires wireless phone customers to pay for all calls made and received on a wireless phone. 

CC: Cost Center

This is configurable across clients. It refers to the expense center that line-item charges are applied to.

CCMI

The company CCMI maintains intelligent telecom and data solution information on up-to-date tariff rates across the main telecom service providers.

CDR

Call Detail Record

Cellular Technology (FCC Definition)

This term, often used for all wireless phones regardless of the technology they use, derives from cellular base stations that receive and transmit calls. Both cellular and PCS phones use cellular technology. 

Combo Box

a drop-down list or list box that lets the user either type a value or select a value from the list. 

Commercial Leased Access (FCC Definition)

Manner through which independent video producers can access cable capacity for a fee. 

Common Carrier (FCC Definition)

In the telecommunications arena, the term used to describe a telephone company. 

Communications Assistant (FCC Definition)

A person who facilitates telephone conversation between text telephone users, users of sign language or individuals with speech disabilities through a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). This service allows a person with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate with anyone else via telephone at no additional cost. 

Community Antenna Television (Catv) (FCC Definition)

A service through which subscribers pay to have local television stations and additional programs brought into their homes from an antenna via a coaxial cable.

Cramming (FCC Definition)

A practice in which customers are billed for enhanced features such as voice mail, caller-ID and call-waiting that they have not ordered.

CSM: Client Service Manager

The manager responsible for customer services.

CSR

Customer Service Record

DBA: Database Administrator

The IT manager in charge of company databases. 

Device Fulfillment

Most modern-day TEM firms will provide device fulfillment support as part of their Managed Mobility service offering.

Device Kitting

Most modern-day TEM firms will provide device kitting support as part of their Managed Mobility service offering. 

Device Lifecycle Management

The process of managing enterprise devices through their lifecycle.

Device Staging

Most modern-day TEM firms will provide device staging support as part of their Managed Mobility service offering. 

Dial Around (FCC Definition)

Long distance services that require consumers to dial a long-distance provider’s access code (or “10-10” number) before dialing a long-distance number to bypass or “dial around” the consumer’s chosen long-distance carrier to get a better rate.

Digital Television (Dtv) (FCC Definition)

A new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. DTV provides clearer resolution and improved sound quality. 

Direct Broadcast Satellite (Dbs/Dish) (FCC Definition)

A high-powered satellite that transmits or retransmits signals which are intended for direct reception by the public. The signal is transmitted to a small earth station or dish (usually the size of an 18-inch pizza pans) mounted on homes or other buildings. 

DLM: Device Lifecycle Management

The process and activity management for taking care of employees’ wireless devices within an enterprise.

Double Field

Used when a database needs a greater level of accuracy than a standard numeric field, especially for monetary fields.

EAP: Early Adopter Program

Normally an invitation-only program limited to specific customers before a service is rolled out to the entire customer base. 

eBonding

Most modern-day TEM firms will provide device eBonding support as part of their Managed Mobility service offering. 

EDI Support Engineer 

The employee who is assigned to EDI issues.

EDI: Electronic Data Interchange

A method of transferring data between networks without human intervention, especially monetary data between trading partners.

EMM: Enterprise Mobility Management

This is the process of securing an organization’s data on employee mobile devices, irrespective of whether they are corporate- owned or employee owned.

En Banc (FCC Definition)

An informal meeting held by the Commission to hear presentations on specific topics by diverse parties. The Commissioners, or other officials, question presenters and use their comments in considering FCC rules and policies on the subject matter under consideration.

End-to-end lifecycle management

Beginning to end service support provided by a TEM firm to its client. This includes some or all an enterprise’s network communications services.

Enhanced Service Providers (FCC Definition)

A for-profit business that offers to transmit voice and data messages and simultaneously adds value to the messages it transmits. Examples include telephone answering services, alarm/security companies and transaction processing companies.

ETMA

Enterprise Technology Management Association

Expense Management

This is a generic term used within the TEM industry to denote the management of wireless and wireline services and assets.

FCC: Federal Communications Commission

U.S. government bureau overseeing telecom affairs.

Frequency Modulation (Fm) (FCC Definition)

A signaling method that varies the carrier frequency in proportion to the amplitude of the modulating signal.

FTP: File Transfer Protocol 

An older transfer protocol using TCP, it’s now considered insecure.

GL: General Ledger

The complete record of financial transactions for a business, including all financial statements. 

Global Positioning System (Gps) (FCC Definition)

A US satellite system that lets those on the ground, on the water or in the air determine their position with extreme accuracy using GPS receivers. 

Help Desk Support

TEM firms will often provide a help desk service to support the needs of their clients. This can entail many levels of support – especially between vendors – but the end goal is to provide high-quality support for devices and services in use.

High-Definition Television (Hdtv) (FCC Definition)

An improved television system which provides twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of existing television standards. It also provides audio quality approaching that of compact discs.

HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The Web’s primary means of data transmission and communication.

HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

Updated HTTP for greater security in communications.

Instance

A programming object with a distinct entity, such as a Tellennium URL, with one per client.

Instructional Television Fixed Service (Itfs) (FCC Definition)

A service provided by one or more fixed microwave stations operated by an educational organization and used to transmit instructional information to fixed locations.

Integer Field

A programming object with a distinct A database field that contains whole numbers.entity, such as a Tellennium URL, with one per client.

Integration

The process of integrating technology resources within the telecommunications world. This often involves bringing software applications together. Technology resources under management may include computers, mobile devices, tablets etc. 

Interactive Video Data Service (Ivds) (FCC Definition)

A communication system, operating over a short distance, which allows instantaneous two-way responses by using a hand-held device at a fixed location. Viewer participation in game shows, distance learning and e-mail on computer networks are examples.

Inventory Management

The process of effectively managing an enterprise’s service inventory. This will typically involve utilizing a strong TEM platform and TEM industry best practices to maintain an accurate, current, and accessible inventory. 

Invoice Management

The processing and management of invoices from arrival to payment.

IoT: Internet of Things.

This refers to the modern-day proliferation of technology which is dependent upon the internet.

IPSEC: Internet Protocol Security

A more secure channel for communications that works by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet in a session.

IS: Integration Specialist

An IT specialist who solves communication problems involving software, hardware and networks.

ITSM: Information Technology Service Management Software

This type of software helps organizations manage their IT support, often for both internal and external support purposes.

Land Mobile Service (FCC Definition)

A public or private radio service providing two-way communication, paging and radio signaling on land.

Landline (FCC Definition)

Traditional wired phone service.

LDAP: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

A vendor-neutral, industry-standard application protocol for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over IP networks.

LOA: Letter of Authorization

Rank, authority, ability/limit for signing a legally binding contract. (This provides a TEM firm with the ability to gain access to sensitive customer information needed for the firm to perform the tasks that have been outsourced to it.)

Low Power Fm Radio (Lpfm) (FCC Definition)

A broadcast service that permits the licensing of 50–100-watt FM radio stations within a service radius of up to 3.5 miles and 1–10-watt FM radio stations within a service radius of 1 to 2 miles.

Low Power Television (Lptv) (FCC Definition)

A broadcast service that permits program origination, subscription service or both via low powered television translators. LPTV service includes the existing translator service and operates on a secondary basis to regular television stations. Transmitter output is limited to 1,000 watts for normal VHF stations and 100 watts when a VHF operation is on an allocated channel.

M2M: Machine to Machine

Technology that enables networked devices to exchange information.

Managed Mobility Services

This is a common term within the TEM industry. According to Gartner Research, “”Mobility managed services (MMS) encompass the IT and process management services required by a company to acquire, provision and support smartphones, tablets and ruggedized field force devices with integrated cellular and/or wireless connectivity. Although the current market for such services is focused on corporate liable devices, MMS engagements also provide a level of control to companies supporting individual liable devices, or bring your own device, accessing corporate resources and information.

MDM: Mobile Device Management

Software applications are leveraged by IT or subject-matter-experts to automate, control, and secure administrative policies on laptops, smartphones, tablets, or other devices connected to an organization’s network.

Mobile Asset Management

This is the process of managing mobility assets for an enterprise. The process focuses on effective inventory management and supply chain management for the enterprise.

Mobile Device Fulfillment

The process of placing orders with telecom carriers as per an enterprise’s requirements. Mobility support teams will also help to maintain the inventory of devices for ongoing device management.

Mobile Device Staging & Mobile Kitting

This is the process that TEM firms will use to facilitate mobile device deployments for an enterprise. Mobility subject-matter-experts will help to provision and configure mobile devices to specifications prescribed by the enterprise. The team will also kit (package related mobility items) for devices to provide the optimal mobility experience directly to enterprise end-users.

Mobile Procurement and Mobile Order Management System

This type of procurement and order management system will help TEM teams manage every point more effectively within the mobility lifecycle.

Mobility Helpdesk

Mobility support teams help to execute service transfers, mobility dispositions, telecom equipment and service troubleshooting, and support all billing questions from enterprise end users. 

MoT: Management of Things®

As defined by Tellennium, a process and an associated SaaS platform for managing a multitude of complex expenses, services, and assets in an enterprise. MoT® provides the ability to better manage these items by providing a centralized database with detailed insight into underlying invoice expenses, services, and asset data.

MPLS: Multi-protocol Label Switching

The protocol designed to get packets of data to their destinations efficiently and quickly.

Must-Carry (Retransmission) (FCC Definition)

A 1992 Cable Act term requiring a cable system to carry signals of both commercial and noncommercial television broadcast stations that are “local” to the area served by the cable system. 

Network (FCC Definition)

Any connection of two or more computers that enables them to communicate. Networks may include transmission devices, servers, cables, routers and satellites. The phone network is the total infrastructure for transmitting phone messages.

Number Portability (FCC Definition)

A term used to describe the capability of individuals, businesses and organizations to retain their existing telephone number(s) –– and the same quality of service –– when switching to a new local service provider. 

OCR: Optical Character Recognition

This is also known as Optical Character Reader. In the TEM world, this is typically the electronic conversion of typed images into a machine-encoded text. This is performed with the goal of expediting data entry and processing activities.

OIR: Original Invoice Record

Also called the custom import or paper invoice.

Open Video Systems (FCC Definition)

An alternative method to provide cable-like video service to subscribers.

Operator Service Provider (Osp) (FCC Definition)

A common carrier that provides services from public phones, including payphones and those in hotels/motels.

Order Management

The process of receiving, tracking, and fulfilling client orders for devices/services. TEM firms will typically use their TEM technology platform to help manage and organize all service order data.

Paging System (FCC Definition)

A one-way mobile radio service where a user carries a small, lightweight miniature radio receiver capable of responding to coded signals. These devices, called “pagers,” emit an audible signal, vibrate or do both when activated by an incoming message.

PBX: Private Branch Exchange

A telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines.

PCB: Printed Circuit Boards

Many communications devices’ electronic components are supported by use of PCBs; communication is the most important downstream application of printed circuit boards. Common telecommunications applications include: mobile phone tower systems, telephonic switching systems, wireless communications systems, PBX systems, video conferencing technologies, high-speed routers and servers and satellite systems. (There are many other uses as well.)

Personal Communications Service (Pcs) (FCC Definition)

Any of several types of wireless, voice and/or data communications systems, typically incorporating digital technology. PCS licenses are most often used to provide services like advanced cellular mobile or paging services. However, PCS can also be used to provide other wireless communications services, including services that allow people to place and receive communications while away from their home or office, as well as wireless communications to homes, office buildings and other fixed locations.

PM: Project Manager

Project managers are responsible for planning, procurement and execution of a project in Telecommunications.

POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service

This acronym has been shorthand for describing analog phone lines in the U.S. for over one hundred years.

Prescribed Interexchange Charge (Picc) (FCC Definition)

The charge the local exchange company assesses the long-distance company when a consumer picks it as his or her long-distance carrier.

PRI: Primary Rate Interface

This is a telecommunications interface standard, which is most often used in Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDNs).

QA: Quality Assurance – ISO 9000

defines this as quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.

RDP: Remote Desktop Protocol 

Microsoft’s graphical interface for network connections.

Roaming (FCC Definition)

The use of a wireless phone outside of the “home” service area defined by a service provider. Higher per-minute rates are usually charged for calls made or received while roaming. Long distance rates and a daily access fee may also apply. 

RPA: Robotic Process Automation

A form of business process automation based on bots (artificial digital workers).

SA: Security Administrator

IT professional tasked with assuring the privacy and integrity of data, especially customer’s financial records. 

SaaS: Software as a Service

Software that is centrally stored and operated, often in the cloud, with access provided on a subscription basis. It is the modern-day model most prevalent in terms of TEM platform technology. It is a software delivery model whereby software is licensed on a subscription basis and centrally hosted by the TEM. 

Sandbox

The training instance or URL used by the client.

Satellite (FCC Definition)

A radio relay station that orbits the earth. A complete satellite communications system also includes earth stations that communicate with each other via the satellite. The satellite receives a signal transmitted by an originating earth station and retransmits that signal to the destination earth station(s). Satellites are used to transmit telephone, television and data signals originated by common carriers, broadcasters and distributors of cable TV program material. 

Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act Of 1999 (Shvia) (FCC Definition)

An Act modifying the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988, SHVIA permits satellite companies to provide local broadcast TV signals to all subscribers who reside in the local TV station’s market. SHVIA also permits satellite companies to provide “distant” network broadcast stations to eligible satellite subscribers.

Satellite Master Antenna Television (Smatv) (FCC Definition)

A satellite dish system used to deliver signals to multiple dwelling units (e.g., apartment buildings and trailer parks).

Scanner (FCC Definition)

A radio receiver that moves across a wide range of radio frequencies and allows audiences to listen to any of the frequencies.

Service Plan (FCC Definition)

The rate plan you select when choosing a wireless phone service. A service plan typically consists of a monthly base rate for access to the system and a fixed number of minutes per month.

Service Provider (FCC Definition)

A telecommunications provider that owns circuit switching equipment.

sFTP- Secure File Transfer Protocol

Organizations will use this type of file to comply with security protocols to ensure the integrity of a communication channel.

SIP Trunking

This is a service offered by service providers that uses SIP protocol to provision voice over IP (VoIP) connectivity between an on-premises phone system and the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).

SIP: Session Initiation Protocol

This is an application layer protocol that permits running a phone system over an internet connection instead of via traditional phone lines.

SLA: Service Level Agreement

This is an agreement that establishes performance metrics between a vendor and its customers.

Slamming (FCC Definition)

The term used to describe what occurs when a customer’s long-distance service is switched from one long distance company to another without the customer’s permission. Such unauthorized switching violates FCC rules.

SLO: Service Level Objective

This establishes an objective which serves as a benchmark for metrics defined with specific service level targets.

Sourcing

TEM firms will often offer a professional sourcing service to assist their clients in sourcing exercises with network carriers.

Spectrum (FCC Definition)

The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television.

SSO: Secure Single Sign-on

An approach to security using one password for user authentication across multiple platforms.

String Field

Any free text field.

Subscriber Line Charge (Slc) (FCC Definition)

A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles and other facilities that link your home to the telephone network. These wires, poles and other facilities are referred to as the “local loop.” The SLC is one component of access charges.

System Administrator

Similar to the DBA, but in charge of the entire IT infrastructure. 

Tariff (FCC Definition)

The documents filed by a carrier describing their services and the payments to be charged for such services.

Telecommunications Relay Service (Trs) (FCC Definition)

A free service that enables persons with TTYs, individuals who use sign language and people who have speech disabilities to use telephone services by having a third party transmit and translate the call. 

Telephony (FCC Definition)

The word used to describe the science of transmitting voice over a telecommunications network.

TEM: Telecom Expense Management Services

According to Gartner Research, Telecom expense management (TEM) services provide enterprises’ IT, procurement and finance departments with the ability to order, provision, support and manage costs of large-scale corporate communications and associated IT services with their inventories (such as fixed and mobile telephony and data, cloud license tracking and emerging IoT connectivity). In addition, they provide tools required for C-level technology strategic decision making. Gartner’s TEM coverage focuses on SaaS-based applications/platforms, managed services and associated professional services.

TEM: Telecom Expense Management Services

According to Gartner Research, Telecom expense management (TEM) services provide enterprises’ IT, procurement and finance departments with the ability to order, provision, support and manage costs of large-scale corporate communications and associated IT services with their inventories (such as fixed and mobile telephony and data, cloud license tracking and emerging IoT connectivity). In addition, they provide tools required for C-level technology strategic decision making. Gartner’s TEM coverage focuses on SaaS-based applications/platforms, managed services and associated professional services.

Termination for Convenience

This is when a contract can be terminated because one party decides to end an existing contract. This will usually only be an option where a contract contains a termination of convenience clause. This will allow an unsatisfied customer to exit a partnership with a vendor if desired, usually for unsatisfactory performance.

Total Cost of Ownership

This is the sum of the purchase price plus all other direct and indirect costs necessary to support enterprise network operations.

Tty (FCC Definition)

A type of machine that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the phone using a keyboard and a viewing screen. It is sometimes called a TDD.

UCaaS

Unified communications as a service. This cloud-based service is increasing in global popularity due to the evolving trend of digital transformation.

Unbundling (FCC Definition)

The term used to describe the access provided by local exchange carriers so that other service providers can buy or lease portions of its network elements, such as interconnection loops, to serve subscribers.

Universal Service (FCC Definition)

The financial mechanism which helps compensate telephone companies or other communications entities for providing access to telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable rates throughout the country, including rural, insular and high costs areas, and to public institutions. Companies, not consumers, are required by law to contribute to this fund. The law does not prohibit companies from passing this charge on to customers.

VAR: Value Added Reseller

A company that enhances the value of third-party products by adding customized products and/or services for resale to end-users.

Vendor Agnostic

The TEM practice of not favoring one carrier over another when supporting an enterprise client. The client is the priority and the telecom carrier which best provides for the client’s interests is favored.

Very High Frequency (Vhf) (FCC Definition)

The part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV Channels 2-13, the FM broadcast band and some marine, aviation and land mobile services.

Video Description (FCC Definition)

An audio narration for television viewers who are blind or visually disabled, which consists of verbal descriptions of key visual elements in a television program, such as settings and actions not reflected in dialog. Narrations are inserted into the program’s natural pauses and are typically provided through the Secondary Audio Programming channel. 

Video Description (FCC Definition)

An audio narration for television viewers who are blind or visually disabled, which consists of verbal descriptions of key visual elements in a television program, such as settings and actions not reflected in dialog. Narrations are inserted into the program’s natural pauses and are typically provided through the Secondary Audio Programming channel. 

Managing enterprise expenses and telecommunications services are a lot more complicated than learning the lingo. We help enterprises take control of their telecom and mobility expenses resulting in greater cost visibility, increased efficiencies, and reduced spend.  

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