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

The Integrated Circuit Card Identification number (ICCID) is an 18-22-digit number typically printed on the back of a SIM card. No two SIM cards have the same ICCID number.

The ICCID is a globally unique serial number – a one-of-a-kind signature that identifies the SIM card itself. It is used in the Infobip IoT module and in reporting to identify IoT sims.

MNOs use the ICCID to identify the correct network to connect your device, authenticate it, and ensure you get the right services. The ICCID helps MNOs and IoT service providers manage many connected devices. It makes it easy to identify, track, activate, and troubleshoot individual SIMs on a network.

What do ICCID numbers stand for?

The format for ICCID Number is MMCC IINN NNNN NNNN NN C x.

  • MM – most SIM Cards have the same first two digits – 89.
  • CC – county code, or MCC (Mobile County Code), used to identify a mobile subscriber’s county of origin.
  • II – SIM card issuer identifier, or MNC (Mobile Network Code), is used to identify a specific mobile network provider. This code is vital for roaming in different countries.
  • N – letters N stands for SIM number or account ID. These numbers are what make the SIM card unique.
  • C – the sum of previous digits using the Luhn algorithm.
  • x – extra digit that ICCID officially does not include as a part of the number.

How do MNOs use ICCID numbers?

Integrated circuit card identifier serves several crucial purposes within cellular networks, especially for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and IoT deployments. Here’s a breakdown of its primary functions:

1. Network access and authentication

  • SIM identification: When a device tries to connect to the network, the MNO’s systems first check the integrated circuit card ID. This identifies the SIM card and verifies it belongs on their network.
  • Service authorization: The network checks the ICCID to ensure the SIM is valid, active, and has the proper permissions to connect and access services.

2. Device and subscriber management

  • SIM tracking: MNOs use ICCIDs to keep track of millions of SIM cards. They link each ICCID with subscriber details, service plans, and billing information.
  • Service provisioning: The ICCID links to your account information so the network knows your data plan, billing details, and special services.
  • Troubleshooting: When there’s an issue, your MNO can use the ICCID to pinpoint the specific SIM and investigate potential problems quickly.

3. Security

  • Fraud prevention: MNOs can detect unauthorized use or potential SIM swap fraud attempts by monitoring ICCID activity. Unusual patterns or attempts to use the same integrated circuit card ID on different devices can raise red flags.
  • Device blocking: While the primary method for blocking stolen devices is the IMEI, the ICCID can be used as additional information for verification and tracking purposes.

4. Roaming

  • Home network identification: When you travel internationally, the ICCID helps foreign networks identify your home MNO. This enables seamless roaming services and accurate billing.
  • Roaming agreements: Roaming charges are applied correctly thanks to the ICCID, ensuring they’re linked to the correct account.

5. IoT applications

  • Roaming agreements: Roaming charges are applied correctly thanks to the ICCID, ensuring they’re linked to the correct account.

Is ICCID the same as the SIM card number?

People often use “SIM card number” in everyday conversation to refer to the ICCID. This is not technically incorrect; the integrated circuit card ID functions as the SIM card’s identifying number.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, sometimes understanding the difference can be helpful:

  • Technical accuracy: When discussing cellular network protocols, security details, or large-scale device management, using “ICCID” adds clarity.
  • Ease of communication: For most people, “SIM card number” is a perfectly acceptable way to refer to the identifier on their SIM card.

What effect does SIM card technology have when integrated into ICCID cards?

Traditional SIM cards

One ICCID per SIM: Each physical SIM card is manufactured with a single, permanent ICCID. This creates a one-to-one relationship between the physical SIM and its identifier.

This simple concept has well-established processes for ICCID generation and management by MNOs.

Switching carriers requires getting a new SIM card with a new ICCID, which means less flexibility in managing multiple profiles or networks.

eSIM technology

eSIMs allow users to switch between carriers or use various networks simultaneously (if the device supports it). This enhances roaming options and competition among MNOs.

Introduction of eUICCID

eUICCID is a unique identifier for the physical eSIM hardware. It’s analogous to the fixed ICCID on traditional SIM cards.

An eSIM is a chip soldered directly onto a device’s motherboard. It introduces a new identifier called the eUICCID, which identifies the physical eSIM hardware.

The relationship between physical hardware and ICCIDs becomes less straightforward. While there’s still a one-to-one relationship between a physical eSIM and its eUICCID, a single eSIM can now hold multiple ICCIDs.

Multiple profiles, multiple ICCIDs

eSIMs use the eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) software. The eUICC manages SIM profiles, and each profile can have its own unique ICCID. A single eSIM can hold multiple ICCIDs associated with different carriers or subscriptions.

Over-the-air (OTA) management allows MNOs to remotely change profiles and their associated ICCIDs on an eSIM without physically swapping cards.

What is the difference between ICCID and IMSI?

The International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is a number that identifies your specific subscriber account and service plan. It’s like your cellular ‘profile.’

For example, a SIM can store multiple IMSIs when roaming or with multi-network SIMs.

How they work together

When your device connects to a network:

  1. The ICCID tells the network which SIM card is connecting. This is like showing your passport at the border.
  2. The IMSI tells the network who you are and what your plan allows. This is like the visa details inside your passport.

In the world of IoT, both ICCID and IMSI are crucial:

  • ICCID: Helps manage many devices, troubleshoot specific SIMs, and ensures only authorized devices connect.
  • IMSI: IoT service providers can offer flexible data plans, roaming capabilities, and tailored services.


The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) identifies the device, while ICCID identifies the SIM card.

The ICCID and the IMEI authenticate your device on the network, ensuring that both the SIM card and device are authorized.

In the case of a stolen device, the IMEI is the primary way for networks to block it from future use. The ICCID is used in tandem to ensure a stolen SIM isn’t used with a different device.

How do I find my ICCID number?

Since the ICCID number is used to manage SIM cards, locating it is crucial. It is usually on the card itself or printed on the packaging. Also, you can find the number when inserting a SIM card into a device and going to the settings menu (General > About).

For the IoT devices, you can create a query through an AT command based on the IoT mobile network module used in the device:

  • “AT+CCID=?” for SIMCOM modules
  • “AT#CCID=?” for Telit modules
  • “AT+QCCID=?” for Quectel modules


Mar 7th, 2024
6 min read

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