We know not everyone understands the techy stuff, so we’ve put together a jargon buster to help you understand the terms you might not be familiar with.

Your monthly bill

O2 Refresh

Our Pay Monthly plan where your bill is split into two parts - Device Plan and Airtime Plan. With O2 Refresh, you can upgrade your phone whenever you like, as long as you’re three months or more into your contract.

Airtime Plan

Part of the O2 Refresh tariff, this is the monthly cost of your data, texts and minutes.

Device Plan

Part of the O2 Refresh tariff, this is the monthly cost of your device. When you pay off your Device Plan, you can upgrade to a new phone or tablet.


The Retail Price Index (RPI) is a measure of the annual rate of inflation. We use it as a guide as to whether we adjust prices, as well as by how much. RPI can impact your Pay Monthly tariffs, including your O2 Refresh Airtime Plan (but not the Device Plan) and sim only tariffs. Find out more about RPI


Operating system

The system that powers and controls the user interface on your phone. Examples of operating systems are Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS.


An operating system, used to power many smartphones and tablets. It's maintained by Google, and comes in a few different versions, the latest being Oreo.


An operating system developed by Apple, used to power iPads and iPhones. The most recent version is iOS 11.

Windows Phone

Developed by Microsoft, Windows Phone is an operating system used to power smartphones and tablets. It’s the successor to Windows Mobile, and has two versions – Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.


The latest version of Android – the operating system that powers more than a billion smartphones and tablets.


Smartphones and tablets are run by processors. They process instructions in order to make your device operate properly. Qualcomm Snapdragon is an example of processor.


One MHz (megahertz) represents one million cycles per second. The microprocessor that powers your phone is measured in megahertz. The higher the MHz, the quicker your phone.

Going online and our network


Second generation mobile network known as GSM. Simply put, 2G allows you to send text messages.


The third generation of mobile phone technology, offering better coverage for voice calls and text messaging, as well as providing faster access to the internet. All of our tariffs come with 3G as standard.


Also known as HSDPA (High Speed Data Packet Access), 3.5G provides faster data rates than 3G.


The fourth generation of mobile phone technology. With 4G, using the internet on your phone is even quicker, with speeds 5-7 times faster than 3G. If you have a 4G ready phone, but you’re not in a 4G area, you’ll still be able to use 3G.


The fifth and latest generation of mobile phone technology, with connectivity that will completely transform the way we live. Get a better and more reliable connection in busy places, delay-free downloads and buffer-free streaming.

Cellular network

The radio network used to send and receive calls and messages, and use the internet.

O2 Wifi

A fast, free wifi service available to everyone. You just download the app, and you’ll be connected to O2 Wifi whenever you’re in a hotspot.


You can connect to the internet using wifi, to browse the web, download applications, or send and receive emails, without using your 3G or 4G data.

O2 Pocket Hotspot

A portable gadget that connects you and up to four other people or devices to the internet, when there’s O2 mobile data coverage. The O2 Pocket Hotspot automatically connects to our mobile network as soon as you insert a Pay As You Go sim.


A small USB device that allows you to access the internet with a 3G or 4G mobile broadband connection.


A program that you use to view websites. Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome are all examples of web browsers.

Taking pictures on a device

Superfast auto-focus

A feature on the new Samsung Galaxy S5, that lets you take movement and action shots, without the pictures becoming blurred.

Quickshot camera

A feature on the new Samsung Galaxy S5, that lets you take photos almost instantly, even when your phone’s locked.

Panoramic shots

A photo specifically shot to include a wide landscape. It can also be used to get a 360 degree view, into one single photo. Many new smartphones include a panoramic shot feature. More about panoramic photos

Optical image stabilization

A technology used to produce clear photos and videos, without the blurriness caused by movement.

Screen information


The display that allows you to control and navigate through your phone by touching the screen with one or more fingers.

Fingerprint recognition

Technology that lets you unlock your phone using your fingerprints. On the new Samsung Galaxy S5, it can also be used for payment via PayPal. To register a print, you need to swipe your finger eight times. This helps keep it secure.


A megapixel is one million pixels, and is a term used for the number of pixels in an image. Simply put, the higher the megapixel, the better the picture quality.


The display resolution of a mobile phone is the number of pixels that can be displayed. It is usually quoted as width × height. For example, "1024x768" means the width is 1024 pixels and the height is 768 pixels.


Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode - a type of display used in mobile phones. AMOLED screens are very thin, meaning they don’t need a backlight. This can help save battery power.


A version of AMOLED that uses less power, is thinner and reflects less light. The layer of the screen that detects touch is built into the screen, rather than on top of it. According to Samsung, Super AMOLED reflects one-fifth as much sunlight as standard AMOLED, making it better to use outside.

Triluminos display

Technology that allows your phone or tablet to display a wider range of colours, to give you more vivid images.

Retina display

A display, on certain Apple devices, where the user is unable to make out the individual pixels of an image.

PPI/Pixel density

Pixel density is measured in pixels per inch (PPI) and is a way of checking screen quality in smartphones. The higher the pixel density, the clearer the images on your screen.


This is a full-HD display, with a higher pixel density to give you sharper and clearer images.


High definition uses a higher resolution than a standard display, to give you higher quality and clearer images and videos.

Using data and device memory


Whenever you use the internet on your phone, you're using data. Whether it's browsing the web, sending an email, or watching a TV programme. Downloading and using apps also uses data. Find out more about mobile data


Kilobits per second – a measure of how fast you can download online.


Megabits per second. Used when talking about broadband speeds. A Megabit is a measure of the data transfer rate, and is a million bits. A bit is the smallest unit of information in computing.

Data allowance

The amount of data usage that’s included in your tariff. Once you exceed this your data will be stopped until your allowance starts again. You'll still be able to connect to the internet using wifi.

Data cap

When you buy a 30 day mobile broadband package from us, you get 30 days to use the data before it expires. If you top up within that 30 days, we’ll roll over any leftover data.


Measured in GB (gigabytes), this tells you how much data such as videos, photos and music your phone can hold. If you’re someone who takes a lot of photos, downloads lots of apps and stores lots of music then you’ll need to have more memory on your phone.


An SD Card (Secure Digital Card) is a small, external memory. Some mobile phones have a slot to enter an SD Card in order to increase the amount of storage on the phone.


To transfer a file from the internet to your phone. For example, when you buy an app, you download it from the app store, onto your phone.


To transfer a file or files from your phone to the internet. For example, when you transfer a photo from your phone to Facebook, it’s called uploading.


Short message service. You probably know it as text messaging. SMS messages are restricted to 160 characters.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a way to send messages that include multimedia content, including picture messages, to and from mobile phones.

O2 apps and other info


Short for application. Apps are software you can use on your smartphone.


An O2 app that gives you discounts at stores, restaurants, cinemas, and more, as well as the opportunity to buy gig and event tickets 48 hours before general release.

O2 Recycle

You can trade in your old phone or tablet for cash with O2 Recycle. You get a great price for your handset, and it’s good for the environment.

O2 Tech Experts

O2 Tech Experts offer free and friendly advice on anything from your phone, to your mobile broadband or laptop. You can find them online, in many of our shops, or over the phone. 

General info

SAR rating

Specific absorption rate - a measurement of how much radiation is absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone. The higher the SAR the more radiation is absorbed so, if you’re concerned about this, choose a phone with a low SAR rating.

Eco rating

When a new phone is produced, we work with the manufacturers rate its sustainability between 0 and 5. The higher the rating the more sustainable the phone is.


A multi-band device (including dual-band, tri-band, quad-band and penta-band devices) is a mobile phone that supports roaming, so you’re able to use your phone abroad.


Before 3G, GPRS was used to access the internet on mobile phones, as well as sending and receiving picture messages.


Edge (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution), or 2.75G, provides faster data rates than GPRS.


The Global Positioning System is a satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions. The GPS on your phone can find your location, and give you directions to your destination.


The Global System for Mobiles, is the agreed standard for mobile networks.


A way of exchanging data wirelessly, over short distances. It’s commonly used for connecting your phone to your car, or a headset, so you can use your phone ‘hands free’.

Flight mode

This is a setting available on a lot of mobile phones, that disables calls and text messages, while still allowing you to use other functions like your MP3 player and camera.



Instant messaging is a type of online chat. It’s just like text messaging, except it’s done over the internet.


A unique number given to every single mobile phone. It’s usually found behind the battery.


The names and phone numbers you have stored on your phone or sim.

PUK code

A code used to unblock a blocked sim. You can get this from your network or service provider.


Near field communication (NFC) is a wifi style technology that lets you share information like web pages, social media, and even make payments, by bringing two devices close together. It works in a similar way to an Oyster card. Find out more about NFC


A way of making video calls on Apple devices when you’re connected to wifi. Find out more about using FaceTime

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