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What is an ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identification) Number?

An ICCID, or Integrated Circuit Card Identification number, is a unique 18-22 digit code that identifies an individual SIM card. It serves as a global identifier for the SIM, allowing mobile network operators (MNOs) to authenticate and provision services to specific devices.

What is an ICCID

Understanding the ICCID Format

The ICCID follows a standardized format consisting of several components:

  • Industry identifier (89 for telecommunications)
  • Country code (1-3 digits)
  • Issuer identifier (1-4 digits)
  • Individual account identification (up to 12 digits)
  • Check digit (1 digit)

For example, an ICCID might look like this: 89014103211118510720. Each section provides information about the SIM card’s origin and identity.

The Role of ICCIDs in Cellular Networks

MNOs rely on ICCIDs to manage and track SIM cards across their networks. The ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identification) number enables crucial functions such as:

  1. Authentication: Verifying that a SIM belongs on the network
  2. Service provisioning: Linking the SIM to a customer’s account and plan
  3. Troubleshooting: Identifying specific SIMs experiencing issues
  4. Fraud prevention: Detecting suspicious activity tied to a SIM
  5. Roaming: Identifying a subscriber’s home network when roaming internationally

Without the ICCID, MNOs would struggle to manage the millions of devices connecting to their networks effectively.

ICCIDs vs. Other Identifiers

While the ICCID identifies the physical SIM card, other important identifiers are also used in cellular networks:

  • IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity): Identifies the mobile subscriber or service plan associated with a SIM.
  • IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity): Identifies the actual device (phone, tablet, IoT sensor, etc.).

The IMSI and ICCID are both stored on the SIM, while the IMEI is hardcoded into the device itself. Together, these identifiers allow MNOs to authenticate and provision service to individual devices and subscriber accounts.

Finding Your ICCID

To locate your SIM card’s ICCID number, you can either:

  1. Look for the 18-22 digit number printed directly on the SIM card
  2. Check the SIM card packaging
  3. Find it under your device settings (e.g., “About Phone” on a smartphone)

In summary, the ICCID plays a vital role in identifying and managing individual SIM cards across mobile networks worldwide. As a globally unique identifier, it enables MNOs to deliver reliable cellular services to specific devices, whether at home or roaming abroad. Alongside other identifiers like the IMSI and IMEI, the ICCID helps keep our connected world running smoothly. So the next time someone asks, “What is an ICCID?” you’ll be ready with an answer.

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Lila Bennett

Lila Bennett, with 10+ years in eSIM tech, specializes in mobile connectivity solutions. She offers end-to-end eSIM services, from setup to support, for both businesses and consumers. Need eSIM integration or advice? Contact Lila anytime for expert assistance.