ICCID number - What is it?

An ICCID number is a unique identifier assigned to each SIM card. It stands for"Integrated Circuit Card Identifier" and consists of a total of 18 to 22 digits.

ICCID briefly explained:

  • ICCID is a unique identifier of each SIM card.
  • It consists of 18 to 22 digits.
  • The ICCID is primarily used to identify a SIM card.
  • It is also used when transferring billing and network data to ensure that it comes from the correct SIM card.

ICCID: Integrated Circuit Card Identifier

The ICCID number, also known as the"Integrated Circuit Card Identifier", is a unique identifier that is assigned to every SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module) worldwide for identification purposes. It usually consists of 18 to 22 digits. Each number has a specific meaning and provides information about the manufacturer, country, network operation and individual SIM card number or phone number. As a SIM card can be clearly assigned via the ICCID, it is sometimes also referred to as the SIM card number.

Structure and organization of the ICCID

The ICCID consists of several digits, usually 18 to 22. This numerical code contains specific information about the SIM card and is divided into a total of three "information blocks". Worldwide, every ICCID number sequence begins with the digits 89, which is a standardized industry code for telecommunications services. The remaining variable digits are divided into:

  • Issuer Identification Number (IIN): The first 6 to 8 digits form the IIN. It provides information on the country and the card issuer. Each country is assigned a unique country code for this purpose. The country code is followed by the mobile network code (MNC). This sequence of one to four digits identifies the issuing mobile network operator (MNO).
  • SIM number: The following digits represent the individual SIM card number assigned by the card issuer. This number is unique for each SIM card and depends on the SIM card issuer.
  • Check digit: The last digit is a check digit that is calculated using the Luhn algorithm. 

Task and function of the ICCID

Identification & authentication: When a SIM card is activated, the end device automatically searches for available mobile networks and checks whether it has access to one of the available mobile networks. To do this, the mobile network provider reads the ICCID on the other side to identify the user account. If all requirements are met, the device is allowed to connect. This query is particularly important if a device does not want to connect to the home network but to a third-party network - which is particularly common with IoT devices.

Portability: The ICCID allows users to transfer their SIM card from one device to another while retaining the same services and number. For example, if an M2M SIM card is removed from a GPS tracker and inserted into an IoT router instead, the router can also establish a connection via the SIM card. Access to the mobile network is therefore not tied to an end device, but to an individual SIM card.

Security: The uniqueness of each ICCID contributes to the security of mobile communication. It ensures that each SIM card is uniquely identifiable. This unique assignment is particularly important in the IoT context and the increasing networking of end devices.

What is the difference between ICCID and IMSI?

The IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) is another identification number that is stored on the SIM card. It comprises 15 digits and relates to the network, i.e. the identification of the mobile subscriber. Most SIM cards, including M2M SIM cards, usually only store a single IMSI (single IMSI). However, there are also special multi-IMSI SIM cards that can be used for IoT applications. These SIM cards can use different profiles due to the different IMSIs and may therefore have access to different networks than "normal" M2M SIM cards.

Differentiation between ICCID and IMEI

IMEI stands for "International Mobile Station Equipment Identity". It consists of a unique 15-digit serial number, which in turn can be used to uniquely identify a mobile device or end device. The IMEI is relevant for theft protection, among other things. An IMEI lock can be used to prevent an M2M SIM card from being used in a device other than the one assigned to it. This can be important for companies from whose end devices the M2M SIM could easily be stolen. If the M2M SIM with IMEI lock is bound to a device, it cannot be activated in any other end device and thus protects the actual owner from inappropriate costs.

Where can I find the ICCID?

The ICCID number is usually printed on the SIM card. It can be located in different places on the card: It can appear on the front or back of the SIM card, usually near a scannable barcode. 

data+ M2M SIM card - whereversim
tech+ M2M SIM card

The ICCID can also be read out by inserting it into a device and querying the ICCID number.

Why is the ICCID number important for IoT applications?

The ICCID number is mainly used to identify a SIM card and connect it to the associated mobile network. It is also used in the transmission of billing and network data to ensure that it comes from the correct SIM card.

By using the ICCID with various location technologies, it is possible to track the position of devices connected to the card. This makes the ICCID number an important part of IoT solutions.