English Cell Phone Vocabulary

Service Provider

Listen to the phrase »

This is another name for the cell phone company. They are the ones who sell you the phone and provide you with the cell phone service. Verizon, AT&T and T mobile are examples of service providers.

“Before getting a cell phone make sure to compare the rates of the different service providers.”

Wireless Carrier

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This is also another name for a cell phone company.

“There are many wireless carriers to choose from. Shop around and find the best one for you.”

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Service plan

Listen to the phrase »

A cell phone company like Verizon or Sprint will offer several different options on what features your cell phone gets, how many minutes you have per month, where you can call and how many phone lines you get. These are called “service plans”.

“I need the service plan with a lot of minutes per month. I like to talk all day.”

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Prepaid Plan

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When getting a cell phone plan some companies will offer a “prepaid plan”. The customer pays a set price for the desired amount of minutes before the month starts. This means that once he has used up his minutes he can no longer make any more calls until buying more time. On traditional cell phone plans customers can keep using the phone to make calls after hitting the call limit. The prices are very high for minutes used after the limit. Cell phone companies make a lot of money this way.

“My son needs a prepaid plan for his cell phone. If he had a regular service plan he would talk forever and have a bill he couldn’t pay.”

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Family Plan

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This is a specific type of service plan that has more than one line that goes to one bill. There is a cheaper rate as opposed to buying several separate lines. Most times there is some sort of a deal in which family members can call each other for free or for a very low price.

“If you are going to get your daughters their own cell phones you should look into the family plans that the cell phone companies have.”

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Loyalty Discount

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Most cell phone companies offer a discount on the cell phone you purchase if you agree to use their service for a set amount of time. Customers have to put this in writing by signing a contract.

“That new phone will be really cheap if you sign a contract with a loyalty discount with Verizon.”

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2 year contract

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Most cell phone companies require a customer to sign a 2 year contract to take advantage of the loyalty discount. If a customer is to break this contract there is a fee. After 2 years the customer has the option to go with another provider.

“Nobody likes to sign the 2 year contract, but it does make things cheaper.

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Peak hours/Peak hour minutes

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These are the hours in which the most people are using their cell phones. A service plan provider will charge the most for calls made during these hours or they” will limit the amount of minutes you have to talk during these times. Peak hours are usually weekdays from 9 AM to 9 PM. Minutes used during peak hours are called “peak hour minutes”.

“According to my cell phone contract during the peak hours I can only talk 100 minutes a month.

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Off peak hours/minutes

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These are the hours that the cell phone company has determined are not in high call volume for their customers. During these hours the cell phone company will charge less for minutes used.

“Call me after 9:00 PM. I have a lot of off peak minutes that I never use. I’m already out of my peak minutes.

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Airtime

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This is the amount of time a cell phone customer is on the phone per billing month. Airtime could include time on the internet or faxing if the customer’s plan and phone has those features.

“The plan I need for my business gives me almost unlimited airtime. It is really expensive!

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In Network

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Cell phone companies have transmission towers places in different locations in the areas where they provide service. If a customer is calling a person who is using a traditional phone or another cell phone company’s service then the call has to be transferred. If a customer of a cell phone company calls another person who is using that same provider (Verizon customer calling another Verizon customer) there is not as much transferring of the call. These “in network” calls are usually cheaper.

“My plan offers unlimited in network calls.”

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Land Line

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A land line is what the traditional phones use. Calls made travel through an actual wire buried in the ground or strung up on a telephone pole.

“We don’t have a land line anymore. Since we all have cell phones and a good service provider there is no need.”

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Roaming

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A cell phone company will not always cover all areas that a customer could travel to. If a customer makes a call in an area that his service provider doesn’t cover the phone will have to use another provider’s network. This is called roaming. These calls cost a lot of money.

“On my vacation I didn’t realize that my phone was roaming. I paid a lot of money for each call.”

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To Bundle Services

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Many of the service providers will offer internet and cable TV services for the home too. A customer can use one service provider for their phone, cable TV and their internet and the price is discounted. To combine all of these services with one company is to “bundle services.”

“Ever since I bundled our services we pay a lot less. When I paid separately for each service it was expensive.”

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Hands Free Device

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This is an attachment to the cell phone that lets you use the phone without having to hold it. Most times this is a small device that fits into your ear.

“If you must speak on the phone while you are driving then please at least use a hands free device.”

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Bluetooth

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This is a technology that allows your cell phone or computer to communicate wirelessly with another device that is close by. It is a small personal network. A cell phone uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with a headset or any other hands free device that is nearby. A wireless key board will use Bluetooth technology to communicate with the computer it goes with.

“My new phone has Bluetooth so I have a cool new headset.”



Practice Exercises

  • Script for Cell Phone Listening Activity
  • Cell Phone Vocabulary Listening Activity
  • Cell Phone Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks Paragraph
  • Cell Phone Vocabulary Word Order
  • Cell Phone Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • Cell Phone Matching