What is MSIN (Mobile Subscription Identification Number)?

The Mobile Subscription Identification Number (MSIN) is a 10-digit unique numeric code used by a mobile network operator to identify a mobile subscriber.

In simple words, MSIN is the mobile equivalent of a username. It is a unique identifier that helps Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) identify the user.

MSIN is also sometimes referred to as the Mobile Subscriber Identification Number.

The MSIN is vital in ensuring your smooth and secure mobile experience. Here are its essential purposes:

  • Service registration – identifies users when they register for various services, e.g., multimedia services
  • Communication identification – recognizes when users send SMS messages or make calls
  • Billing – MNOs can accurately charge users for services they use.
  • Security – authenticates and authorizes access network access

How does MSIN work?

MSIN authenticates and authorizes access to the network so the user can safely and securely access their services. In other words, MSIN identifies users’ SIM cards when they register for services, call, or send a text message. It is also beneficial for billing purposes – MNOs can charge for used services accurately.

What is the difference between MSIN and IMSI?

MSIN is part of the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number. The last ten digits of the 15-digit long IMSI number are the MSIN.

Even though they are both used to identify mobile users, they have different purposes. IMSI is a 15-digit number that consists of the Mobile Network Code (MNC), MSIN, and the Mobile Country Code (MCC). It identifies mobile users, provides detailed information, and is fundamental for overall user identification and network operations. At the same time, MSIN is essential for identifying individual mobile subscribers and is vital for personal identification.

Is MSIN the same as a mobile phone number?

Although the MSIN can be derived from the subscriber’s mobile phone number, it Is not the same thing and, in some cases, can be completely different. For example, when subscribers change their phone number, they keep the same MSIN number.


IMSIs can sometimes be mistaken for Integrated Circuit Card Identification (ICCID).

ICCID is an 18-22-digit number typically printed on the back of a SIM card, which identifies the physical card itself (or virtual SIM card if it is an eSIM). Primarily used for SIM card tracking and management.

ICCID is independent of the user and remains unchanged even when switching devices. 

IMSI is provided to each mobile subscriber via the SIM card, and ICCID is assigned to each SIM’s hardware.

Think of it as:

  • IMSI – Who you are (subscriber)
  • ICCID – What card you use (SIM)

A word of caution: Protect your MSIN

Remember, the MSIN is a unique identifier associated with your subscription. Please treat it with the same caution you would any sensitive information.

Avoid sharing it publicly, as it could be misused for malicious purposes like unauthorized access or identity theft. Stick to trusted methods your operator provides to retrieve your MSIN when needed.


Feb 2nd, 2024
3 min read

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