What You Need to Know about ICCID, IMSI and IMEI

February 22, 2024

The letters IMEI are set in the middle of a barcode.

Three fundamental terms in the SIM card world are:

  • Integrated Circuit Card Identification (ICCID)
    ICCID is the number that identifies the SIM card.
  • International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI)
    IMSI uniquely identifies all Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) mobile phone subscribers.
  • International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)
    IMEI is a unique number that signifies the type of mobile device or hardware.

Let’s take a closer look at ICCID, IMSI and IMEI and what they mean for your global deployment.

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What Is ICCID?

While these other parameters are typically unknown to the customer, anyone with a SIM card can find the corresponding ICCID as it is on the card. The SIM card’s ICCID is typically between 19 and 20 digits long and conveys the information contained on the card.

What Is IMSI?

A person holding a traditional SIM card in their fingers.

IMSI is a unique 15-digit number identifier that represents a relationship between:

  • The plastic SIM card
  • The country
  • The mobile network

The three notable parameters of an IMSI number are as follows:

  • Mobile country code (MCC): The first three digits represent the MCC. For example, Israel is 972, and the U.S. is 310-316.
  • Mobile network code (MNC): The next two or three digits are the MNC. These numbers indicate to which company or mobile network operator (MNO) the SIM card belongs. For instance, AT&T is 410, and T-Mobile is 260.
  • Mobile subscription identification number (MSIN): The final nine or 10 digits of the IMSI, the MSIN, allow wireless carriers to identify mobile devices.

An IMSI ensures that the mobile device gets routed to the correct network, which is crucial when roaming. The signal will be sent to the wrong destination without this information. 

In addition, Telit Cinterion has taken the next step of utilizing the embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC), so we can move forward from here.

What Is IMEI?

Closeup detail photo of the IMEI code on the back of a modem.

IMEI is a 15-digit number unique to each device, differentiating it from the others connected to the GSMA. The number has a prefix, which specifies the type of device (e.g., iPhone or Samsung), and a serial number, which distinguishes the individual device itself.

Imagine two people have the same iPhone 14. Even if they were purchased on the same day from the same store and share the first eight digits as iPhone 14s, the last seven digits will differ to indicate distinct devices. In addition to the 15-digit number, there is now another 16th number at the end, which describes the latest version of the device.

In addition, the IMEI number allows phone carriers and manufacturers to:

Ease Operational Complexities with Telit Cinterion  

NExT network logo.

For the end user living in one country with a small deployment, ICCID, IMSI and IMEI are not necessarily relevant. However, for companies with massive SIM deployments across multiple countries, these identifiers matter for roaming.

Rather than buying multiple types of SIM cards and navigating each MNO, you can leverage Telit Cinterion’s NExT™ network. This mobile core IoT network covers over 600 carriers in more than 200 countries. Telit Cinterion gives you one SKU for the IMSI profile or the SIM card. Wherever it goes, you will always have connectivity.

Request your IoT connectivity starter kit today and gain complete visibility and control over your dispersed devices.