Telecom 101: Learning the Language of Telecom

Your wireless costs might increase because of COVID-19 – but they won’t if you follow these 3 steps.

Confused about TelecomWhen you try to make sense of the invoice from your telecom service provider, does it look like a foreign language filled with technical jargon and acronyms? The service providers know that the less you understand about your bill, the less likely you will be to challenge it! Though almost 80% of telecom invoices contain errors, customers can’t easily identify errors because they simply don’t understand the invoice. If you want to level the playing field with your telecom service provider, then you need to learn the language of telecom. 

The key to understanding your invoice is to take the time to do the research. Gather your invoices, go through them slowly and carefully, and make a list of all the services for which you are currently paying. If you were learning Spanish and you came across a word that you didn’t understand, then you would probably look it up in a Spanish to English dictionary, right? The same approach can help you understand the language of telecom.  When you see a term that you don’t completely understand, take the time to look it up. Many of the major carries have a website that includes an “Understand Your Bill” section that can be very informative. Here are a few other resources that can help with the translation:

  • Telecommunications (Wikipedia)
  • Service Delivery Platform (Wikipedia)
  • POTS (Wikipedia)

Telecom Acronyms and Definitions

It seems that more and more industry-specific acronyms are making their way into our language. The world of telecom is still new and continuing to evolve, which makes it very difficult to keep up with the acronyms. If you were traveling to a foreign country where you were not fluent in the language, you might carry a “cheat sheet” of common phrases to help with the basics. Here is a list of 10 basic telecom acronyms that will help you get started deciphering your invoices:

  1. MRC – Monthly Recurring Charge: This is the monthly fee for a service that you can expect to see on every invoice
  2. NRC – Non Recurring Charge: This one time charge is usually for an installation, set up or service call fee.
  3. ETF – Early Termination Fee: This is a fee that is charged when you end your contract earlier than the agreed upon date.
  4. MUTM – Make Up to Minimum: The MUTM is the difference between the contractual minimum, which is the amount you agree to spend each month or year, and what was actually spent.
  5. MARC – Minimum Annual Revenue Commitment: This is the amount of money you commit to spend per year.
  6. MUG – Minimum Usage Guarantee
  7. ARC – Annual Revenue Commitment
  8. PRI – Obsolete local service that is typically more expensive than newer technologies
  9. VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol
  10. MPLS – Multi-Protocol Label Switching

Why is it important to learn the language of telecom? When you have a better understanding of your telecom bill, you will know what you are actually paying for. When you can clearly understand the prices, the services, and the commitments, you will be better equipped to negotiate with your provider, and to make smart spending decisions.

Just as it takes time to learn another language, it takes time to understand the industry-specific language of telecom. Chances are, you already have time consuming job requirements, which doesn’t leave you with a lot of extra time to learn a new language. If this is a case, then having an interpreter, someone native to the world of telecom and fluent in telecom-speak, would be a valuable resource. PAG not only serves as an interpreter, but guides you toward decisions that will get you the services your company needs for the best prices. Contact PAG today to learn more about how we can help.


[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]

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