Mobile phone FAQs

Everything you've ever wanted to know about mobile phones

Buying a mobile phone can often be a headache. We've answered a few of frequently asked questions to help aid your purchase.

What is 3G?

3G is a third-generation technology of mobile phone standards. The benefits of a 3G network as opposed to a 2G network include the ability to support greater number of both voice and data customers, and higher data rates (such as mobile Internet access). 3G networks are also capable of video calling. Telstra's Next G, Optus and Vodafone are current, Australian examples of service providers with 3G networks.

Am I better off with a pre-paid account, or a monthly billing system?

This depends on intended usage. For minimal usage, a pre-paid account is ideal as you can easily keep track of your expenditure and pay only when you need credit. If you intend to make a lot of calls, then a monthly billing system would be more appropriate, as they generally offer cheaper call rates than a pre-paid account.

What is a capped plan?

A capped plan means you only pay a certain amount per month if your usage doesn't exceed a maximum value.

What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service and is the sending of short (160 characters or less) text messages to and from mobile phones. SMS messaging is a standard feature on all mobile phones. Receiving SMS messages is free of charge, but sending them costs 25 cents across most networks in Australia. Some networks may offer discounted rates for SMS messages sent across their own network.

Can I make video calls?

Video calls can be made on a 3G network, provided your phone has a front-mounted camera for video calls and your service provider supports this feature. Video calls are usually charged at a higher rate than a regular voice call.

How do I know who is calling me?

Caller ID is a service that transmits the caller's telephone number to your mobile phone while it is ringing. Further, if the number is saved in your address book, the caller's name will display instead of just the number.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service and is the sending of messages that include multimedia such as images, audio, video and text. MMS is standard on most mobile phones, and costs more than an SMS.

Can I listen to music or watch videos?

If your mobile phone includes a music and/or video player, yes. Many new phones and smartphone include these, and they allow you to store and then playback a number of multimedia files on your phone's screen.

What else can my phone do besides make phone calls?

Depending on the phone's features, it may be capable of browsing the Internet, listening to FM radio and MP3 music, recording video and voice, taking photos, and even making VoIP (Voice over IP) calls. Many smartphones also allow you to install third-party apps that will add even more features.

Do I need a hands-free kit?

In many Australian states it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while talking on a mobile phone without a hands-free kit. There are many types of hands-free kits, from earpieces to portable Bluetooth devices and even dedicated kits that are built into your car.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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