My current cell phone plan includes 200 minutes, and free calling at night (from 6PM to 7AM) and on weekends. Is there a term in the mobile industry to mean the minutes used during time other than weekends or nights? Is "airtime" exactly for that purpose? Similarly, what is the term for used minutes during weekends and nights?

For example, in my latest bill, I used 30 minutes at nights and weekends, and 108 minutes during times other than nights and weekends. Since 108 is less than 200, I don't have to pay extra money other than my basic plan fee. If I had used more than 200 mins during other times, I would have had to pay additional fees for the extra minutes.


I have heard them referred to as "peak minutes".

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  • 1
    +1 With weekends/evenings being referred to as "off-peak". Here, "peak" refers to the fact that more people use the phone during peak times. If you plotted usage against time on a graph you'd get a "peak" during the day on weekdays. You could apply the same terminology to things like holidays, where the school holidays could be referred to as "peak" times. – George Duckett Mar 23 '12 at 11:03

Minutes during weekend and nights on your plan are free, so they would be called free minutes.

There isn't a generic term for the other times. Peak minutes, daytime minutes, included minutes might all be used, as well as marketing terms like Whenever minutes. I don't think they are billable minutes because that would indicate time you have used over and above the time included in your plan.

Air time isn't a phrase normally used in the UK with regards to mobile phones, but I would say that is the total time you use the phone (i.e., you are "on air"). Consequently it's not particularly useful in distinguishing types of usage.

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  • Thanks! How about "air time"? Does it mean any of the two? – Tim Mar 23 '12 at 11:25
  • @Tim, I think of radio or television broadcasts when I hear airtime, but I did find this definition[mobiledia.com/glossary/18.html] for airtime: "Actual time spent talking on the cellular telephone. Most carriers bill customers based on how many minutes of airtime they use each month. Airtime charges during peak periods of the day vary from about 20 cents to more than 40 cents per minute, depending on the service plan selected. Most carriers offer reduced rates for off-peak usage." – JLG Mar 23 '12 at 12:06
  • @Andrew Leach, +1 for "included minutes." (And you're right, those are not billable minutes.) – JLG Mar 23 '12 at 12:09
  • @JLG: Thanks! (1) Air time seems like not the used time during night and weekend, does it? (2) Does airtime mean the used time in the included time, or the time exceeding the included time? – Tim Mar 23 '12 at 12:10
  • I think airtime includes all the time you use your phone, whether you exceed your plan minutes or not. Do others concur? – JLG Mar 23 '12 at 12:16

I'm not sure whether this is on topic for this site. Nevertheless, on my T-Mobile statements, the minutes that are not Night or Weekend Minutes are called "Whenever Minutes." (Don't you wonder how many marketing meetings it took to come to a consensus about that term?)

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  • Thanks! My is with Sprint. the used minutes not during night or weekend is called "Anytime Minutes", the used minutes during night and weekend is called "Night & Weekend". So I am looking for general terms used in the mobile industry, not specific to a carrier. – Tim Mar 23 '12 at 4:10
  • Maybe billable minutes? – JLG Mar 23 '12 at 4:14

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