GSM - User Services

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GSM has much more to offer than voice telephony. Additional services allow you greater flexibility in where and when you use your phone. You should contact your local GSM network operator for information on the specific services available to you.

But there are three basic types of services offered through GSM which you can ask for:

  • Telephony (also referred to as teleservices) Services

  • Data (also referred to as bearer services) Services.

  • Supplementary Services

Teleservices or Telephony Services:

A Teleservice utilises the capabilities of a Bearer Service to transport data, defining which capabilities are required and how they should be set up.

Voice Calls:

The most basic Teleservice supported by GSM is telephony. This includes Full-rate speech at 13 Kbps and emergency calls, where the nearest emergency- service provider is notified by dialing three digits. A very basic example of emergency service is 911 service available in USA.

Videotext and Facsmile:

Another group of teleservices includes Videotext access, Teletex transmission, Facsimile alternate speech and facsimile Group 3, Automatic facsimile Group 3 etc.

Short Text Messages:

SMS (Short Messaging Service) service is a text messaging which allow you to send and receive text messages on your GSM Mobile phone. Services available from many of the world's GSM networks today - in addition to simple user generated text message services - include news, sport, financial, language and location based services, as well as many early examples of mobile commerce such as stocks and share prices, mobile banking facilities and leisure booking services.

Bearer Services or Data Services

Using your GSM phone to receive and send data is the essential building block leading to widespread mobile Internet access and mobile data transfer. GSM currently has a data transfer rate of 9.6k. New developments that will push up data transfer rates for GSM users are HSCSD (high speed circuit switched data) and GPRS (general packet radio service) are now available.

Supplementary Services

Supplementary services are provided on top of teleservices or bearer services, and include features such as caller identification, call forwarding, call waiting, multi-party conversations, and barring of outgoing (international) calls, among others. A brief description of supplementary services is given here:

  • Multiparty Service or conferencing: The multiparty service allows a mobile subscriber to establish a multiparty conversation, i.e., a simultaneous conversation between three or more subscribers to setup a conference call. This service is only applicable to normal telephony.

  • Call Waiting: This service allows a mobile subscriber to be notified of an incoming call during a conversation. The subscriber can answer, reject, or ignore the incoming call. Call waiting is applicable to all GSM telecommunications services using a circuit-switched connection.

  • Call Hold: This service allows a subscriber to put an incoming call on hold and then resume this call. The call hold service is only applicable to normal telephony.

  • Call Forwarding: The Call Forwarding Supplementary Service is used to divert calls from the original recipient to another number, and is normally set up by the subscriber himself. It can be used by the subscriber to divert calls from the Mobile Station when the subscriber is not available, and so to ensure that calls are not lost. A typical scenario would be a salesperson turns off his mobile phone during a meeting with customers, but does not with to lose potential sales leads while he is unavailable.

  • Call Barring: The concept of barring certain types of calls might seem to be a supplementary disservice rather than service. However, there are times when the subscriber is not the actual user of the Mobile Station, and as a consequence may wish to limit its functionality, so as to limit the charges incurred. Alternatively, if the subscriber and user are one and the same, the Call Barring may be useful to stop calls being routed to international destinations when they are routed. The reason for this is because it is expected that the roaming subscriber will pay the charges incurred for international re-routing of calls. So, GSM devised some flexible services that enable the subscriber to conditionally bar calls.

  • Number Identification: There are following supplementary services related to number identification:

    • Calling Line Identification Presentation: This service deals with the presentation of the calling party's telephone number. The concept is for this number to be presented, at the start of the phone ringing, so that the called person can determine who is ringing prior to answering. The person subscribing to the service receives the telephone number of the calling party.

    • Calling Line Identification Restriction: A person not wishing their number to be presented to others subscribes to this service. In the normal course of event, the restriction service overrides the presentation service.

    • Connected Line Identification Presentation: This service is provided to give the calling party the telephone number of the person to whom they are connected. This may seem strange since the person making the call should know the number they dialled, but there are situations (such as forwardings) where the number connected is not the number dialled. The person subscribing to the service is the calling party.

    • Connected Line Identification Restriction: There are times when the person called does not wish to have their number presented and so they would subscribe to this person. Normally, this overrides the presentation service.

    • Malicious Call Identification: The malicious call identification service was provided to combat the spread of obscene or annoying calls. The victim should subscribe to this service, and then they could cause known malicious calls to be identified in the GSM network, using a simple command. This identified number could then be passed to the appropriate authority for action. The definition for this service is not stable.

  • Advice of Charge (AoC): This service was designed to give the subscriber an indication of the cost of the services as they are used. Furthermore, those Service Providers who wish to offer rental services to subscribers without their own Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) can also utilize this service in a slightly different form. AoC for data calls is provided on the basis of time measurements.

  • Closed User Groups (CUGs): This service is provided on GSM to enable groups of subscribers to only call each other. This type of services are being offered with special discount and is limited only to those members who wish to talk to each other.

  • Unstructured supplementary services data (USSD): This allows operator-defined individual services.



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