What are telcos and who are they to me?

Telcos are an essential and tremendously important factor in how we connect on an individual, community, and international level. Without the industry, businesses and governments would not be able to provide the Australian community with vital resources for everyday life.

Unfortunately, the more technical terms used can sometimes sound like their own language. Luckily there are a few common terms that we can teach you to help navigate the telco world. At the very least these can also help you communicate better with younger people at home or in the community. 

 

What are the main services that telcos provide you?

Phone Plans: These are an all-in-one solution to being mobile-ready, fast. Phone plans consist of a contract that covers payment for the phone, monthly usage, and any excess usage. Under these plans, you do not own the phone until the contract is paid off. These are usually lock-in contracts that require an exit payment if you decide to terminate the contract early.

Sim Only Prepaid Plans: An upfront payment option that is charged on a month-by-month basis. These plans are simple and provide flexibility and simplicity for those who use their mobile phone as a landline, these are great for you. If you are not going to use your phone for a month you do not have to pay. 

Sim Only Post-Paid Plans: These are the opposite of pre-paid plans. You choose a monthly plan and pay for it after the month is finished. These plans usually are lock-in contracts, either 12 or 24 months long. Like the phone plan, if you exceed your monthly limits, you will be charged extra. 

Mobile Broadband Plans: This is a data-only plan meaning it does not provide calls and text. These plans provide internet to your laptop or tablet when you are away from your home's internet, they connect through either a personal hotspot modem or mobile dongle. 

Home Internet Plans: These are plans to support your home internet usage. Home internet connections are usually provided either via satellite or the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Home Phone Plans: For many households, home phones are still a valuable asset, especially in emergencies. Home phone connections have changed over the years and are now available as a standard copper phone line or by using your home internet connection (VoIP).

two silhouettes with speech bubbles.

 

What is mobile data and how it affects your mobile data usage?

Mobile data allows you to browse the internet, send emails, use applications, and watch videos on your mobile device.

Your mobile data usage depends on how often you will use services on your phone that require data. These include streaming videos, playing online games, video calls, uploading photos and videos to social media and music streaming. Check your mobile data usage through our online portal here.

Your mobile data is measured in bytes and to the average. A kilobyte (KB) is a thousand bytes, a megabyte (MB) is a thousand KB, and a gigabyte is a thousand GB.  You can find out more our mobile data guide to see how daily online activity uses up your allocation.

 

What is the “G” network?

You may have heard about the G network’s advancements in the media, but what are they talking about and how does it affect you?

The Generation (G) network is a series of networks that have been established throughout the decades to allow for communication via wireless technology. The number before the G is used to describe the progression of mobile communication technology with 1G being the original G network. In our modern age, we are currently nearing the end of the 4G network and at the beginning of the 5G revolution.

With 5G you can expect improved reliability, faster data speeds and ultra-low internet loading times. This network has been designed to seamlessly integrate all our technologies from your smartphone, laptop, to your smart fridge, in the development of smart cities.

The easiest way to get 5G ready is to ensure your smartphone is 5G enabled. Once 5G is rolled out in your area you will be connected to the network! If not, don’t worry, your smartphone will still work on the current 4G or 3G network.

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What does connect your phone mean?

You can barely leave the house without connecting your phone to another device or network. Connecting is simply linking your mobile device to another device including cars, speakers and Wi-Fi networks. Here are some common connections you may have heard of.  

Bluetooth – This is a short-range wireless connection, ideal for picture sharing to other devices, connecting to your cars entertainment system or playing music through Bluetooth speakers or headphones. 

Wi-Fi - An advanced wireless connection that connects your devices to the internet within a set area. Wi-Fi is a great option for operating full-scale networks because it enables a faster connection, better range from the base station, and increased security.

Mobile Hotspot - A mobile hotspot is an impromptu wireless internet connection that is created by sharing cellular data from your smartphone, portable modem, or dongle to the connected device; this can include any device that is Wi-Fi enabled.  

 

How can I connect to the Internet at home?

For you to have internet up and running in your house or office, you will need some specialised technology. Apart from an array of wires, these include an:

Internet Modem - A modem is a networking device that connects your home to the internet.

Internet Router - A router is also a networking device, but it is used to share the modems internet connection to other devices within your home. The router allows your devices to connect without having to do so outside of your secure home network.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) - An Internet service provider allows individuals and businesses to access, use, or participate on the internet.  

 

What are some other common internet terms to be aware of?

ADSL – A short-hand of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, this was the first-generation form of internet broadband. To explore more about ADSL please view our help centre

NBN - The National Broadband Network is a new optical fibre broadband network that replaces copper wires. It aims to deliver more reliable and high-capacity internet for your home. 

Firewall - Your computer's firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing internet traffic, a barrier to all unwanted and malicious activity.  

Bandwidth – This is the measure that describes the maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection. A greater amount of bandwidth means more data can be sent at the same time. 

Virtual Private Network (VPN) – A VPN encrypts and secures information from one network to another. It is predominantly used to block access from prying eyes when using a public internet service. This is the modern-day equivalent of a PO box.

 

Understanding telco lingo is an important step in giving power and choice to the consumer. As technology transforms the way we live and do business, it is vital that we keep up with these changes.

Southern Phone always strives to support consumers learn and develop skills to take advantage of these technologies for greater communication possibilities between all members of our communities, especially those in rural Australian towns. Please contact our team or explore our help centre to learn more.

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