What is the ICCID number on an IoT SIM Card?

IoT glossary

What is the ICCID number on an IoT SIM Card?

What is the ICCID number?

ICCID stands for Integrated Circuit Card Identification Number. In short, it is a unique set of 18 to 22 digits which is assigned to a SIM card, allowing it to be completely distinguishable and have its own identity. The ICCID number can usually be found printed on the back of a SIM card. The ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier) is crucial for IoT SIM cards as it uniquely identifies each card, enabling seamless communication between devices and networks, and ensuring secure and efficient data transmission for IoT applications.

Is the ICCID number the same as SIM card number?

The ICCID number is a unique identifier that is found on the SIM card itself. It is not the same as the IMEI number, which is used to identify the mobile device. In the world of IoT devices, the ICCID is crucial as it ensures secure and efficient data transmission between devices and networks. Each IoT device comes with its own unique ICCID, which allows for accurate identification and authorization on the network. This helps to facilitate smooth data exchange and commands, which is essential for the functionality and success of IoT applications and solutions.

What do the ICCID numbers mean?

The first two numbers on an IoT SIM card are always 89. This denotes that the SIM card is associated with the telecommunications industry. There are many other SIM cards in day-to-day society including your credit card, ID cards, and ePassports.

The next two or three numbers denote the country code of the SIM card. These differ from mobile country codes (MCCs) used on the International Mobile Subscriber Identifier (IMSI). The country code is determined on an IoT SIM card by the International Telephony Union (ITU).

Following the country identifying numbers, the one to four digits are the Mobile Network Code (MNC). This allows someone to be able to determine which Mobile Network issued the SIM card.

The final digits that form part of the ICCID number are a unique string of digits which provide the SIM its unique identity. The final digit in the string is determined by a Luhn algorithm which validates the entire ICCID, ensuring accuracy and preventing errors in data transmission. This final digit serves as a checksum, increasing the security and reliability of IoT SIM cards to function seamlessly within the IoT ecosystem.

How do you locate the ICCID?

There are multiple ways to identify the ICCID on an IoT device and it depends on the device in question.

  1. Check the Device Packaging or Manual: If you have the original packaging or manual of the IoT device, you might find the ICCID printed on a label or mentioned in the documentation.
  2. Check the SIM Card Slot: Some IoT devices have a removable SIM card slot. Open the device and check the slot where the SIM card is inserted. The ICCID is usually printed on the SIM card itself or near the SIM card slot.
  3. Device Settings or Web Interface: For IoT devices with a user interface or web portal, there might be a section in the settings or configuration pages that displays SIM card information, including the ICCID.
  4. Use AT Commands (For Programmable Devices): If your IoT device is programmable and communicates over a serial interface (such as UART), you can send AT commands to the device to retrieve the ICCID. For example, if your device uses a GSM module, you can send AT commands like AT+CCID? to get the ICCID information.

What’s the difference between ICCID, IMEI, MSISDN and eID?

ICCID, IMEI, MSISDN and eID are different identifiers associated with mobile devices, and they serve distinct purposes:

Integrated Circuit Card Identifier (ICCID):

Purpose: The ICCID is a unique identification number for the SIM card used in mobile devices. It is used to identify the individual SIM card and is crucial for network authorization and communication.

Usage: ICCID is specific to SIM cards and is used in GSM, UMTS, LTE, and some satellite phones.

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI):

Purpose: IMEI serves as a distinctive identification number for IoT devices including modems or routers equipped with cellular connectivity. It uniquely identifies the device, ensuring traceability and security in the vast network of interconnected devices.

Usage: IMEI numbers are pivotal in IoT ecosystems. They facilitate network authorisation, enabling seamless communication between devices and networks. Additionally, IMEI numbers play a crucial role in security measures, such as blacklisting stolen IoT devices, ensuring that compromised devices cannot access networks. Moreover, IMEI numbers are vital for device tracking, allowing businesses and individuals to monitor the location and status of their IoT assets in real-time, enhancing overall operational efficiency and security in the IoT landscape.

Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN):

Purpose: MSISDN is the phone number assigned to a mobile device. It is what people commonly refer to as a "phone number."

Usage: MSISDN is used for voice and SMS communication. When someone calls or sends a text message to a mobile device, they are using its MSISDN.

Electronic Identity (eID):

Purpose: eID, or electronic identity is specifically used for eUICC.

Usage: The eID number is equivalent to the traditional ICCID value for a physical SIM, but is unique a number identifying an eUICC capable chip. An eID can be used to identify a physical SIM card that is eUICC capable or an eUICC chip that is embedded into a smartphone or IoT device. The benefit of a physical SIM that is eUICC capable means it is possible to combine the flexibility of eSIM with traditional removable SIM cards.

eSIM, EUICC and ICCID

The increasing prevalence of eSIM (Embedded Subscriber Identity Module) or EUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) technology in IoT devices is indeed unsurprising, given the notable advantages it offers in terms of flexibility and convenience. The significance of eSIM technology becomes apparent due to the crucial role played by the ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier).

One of the most remarkable benefits lies in the capability to remotely provision and manage mobile subscriptions. Mobile operators can assign an ICCID over-the-air to an eSIM, allowing the device to switch networks seamlessly without the need to physically exchange the SIM card. This level of flexibility is particularly invaluable for IoT devices deployed in the field, empowering operators with unprecedented control and adaptability in managing their connected devices.

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Last Modified: 12/10/2023
Written by: Dan McDonnell