What Is MSISDN Number? How to Find It from A SIM Card?

Haseeb Awan
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October 11, 2022
Modified On
May 17, 2024


Online commerce is becoming increasingly mobile. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever before are working, shopping, and conducting business remotely. Globally, mobile devices account for more than 50% of this traffic; in Asia, the figure is closer to 60%, and in India, it exceeds 75%.

As mobile dominance in e-commerce continues to grow, many apps have begun using a mobile number as their predominant user identification method. The most prevalent two-factor authentication method, a PIN code sent via SMS, also employs the mobile number.

Even though mobile numbers are unique, they are not owned or controlled by the user. This makes it susceptible to fraudsters who can increasingly intercept SMS PIN codes and other sensitive information. It also causes issues when mobile operators recycle and reissue numbers to different users.

Therefore, you could be in serious trouble if your business relies solely on a telephone number.

This article discusses MSISDN, what is it, how it works, difference between IMSI and MSISDN. and other MSISDN number FAQs. So, let's get started:

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What is MSISDN?

MSISDN is the abbreviation of Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number. MSISDN is the complete “phone number” of a device. It is the phone number you use to contact a particular mobile phone user.

How Does MSISDN Work?

When you send a text message or make a phone call, you send it to a phone number (MSISDN) — this ensures that your contacts can still reach you if you get a new SIM card. Your mobile operator routes this message to a mobile device based on the most recent mapping of this MSISDN to that device's IMSI. If nothing has changed, there is no issue. However, if that MSISDN is mapped to someone else's SIM card, the text message or phone call will be routed to that individual.

Unless you've recently lost your phone or switched networks, you may believe this isn't a significant issue. However, scammers exploit this vulnerability on purpose and to significant effect. When making a mobile phone call, there must be an efficient means of connecting you to the intended recipient, and that recipient must be able to identify you. The same holds for IoT devices communicating with one another.

The MSISDN is transmitted over the air interface to the network when making or receiving a call. The number can route calls and SMS messages to the correct subscriber. It can also be used for billing purposes.

In this case, an MSISDN is essential. It is the unique number that identifies a network subscriber.

MSISDN Number Division

Depending on the numbering procedures established by local regulatory bodies, the exact length of an MSISDN varies from country to country. Typically, it consists of 14 or 15 digits (15 is the maximum). It consists of three components:

  • Country Number (CC)
  • National Destination Code (NDC)
  • Subscriber Number (SN): This is the specific portion of each subscriber.

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Mobile directory numbers, or MDNs for short, are CDMA phone numbers that can be used for voice calls and text messages. It functions similarly to a GSM MSISDN. As you may know, a CDMA phone does not use a SIM card. Because of this, a switch in MDN might necessitate a new phone.


Is MSISDN Same As Phone Number?

Yes, MSISDN is your phone number.

How to Find MSISDN Number on A Sim Card?

To find the MSISDN from a SIM card, you must use the phone's dialer to enter *#06#. This should display the MSISDN on the screen. You will need to contact your service provider for assistance if it does not.

What Process Does The Mobile Phone Carrier Use To Assign The MSISDN To The SIM Card?

HLR assigns a sim card to a network when it is attached. In most cases, this will not change, but the serving mobile operator may do so at any time.

What is The Difference Between MSISDN and IMSI?

It is relatively simple to memorize a person's mobile phone number. MSISDN is the abbreviation for Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number. However, this number is merely a label — something the user can remember and share.

In mobile networks, the unique user identifier is, in fact, the SIM card identifier, also known as the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI). Therefore, if you require a replacement SIM card, the replacement card will have a new IMSI. However, you can keep the same mobile number, which creates a security risk.

How MSISDN Track Mobile Subscribers?

Every mobile subscriber in the world has a different MSISDN. An MSISDN, in layperson's terms, is just a phone number with some extra protocol info appended to it. The GSM standard is the source from which a mobile provider obtains its phone numbering plan.

What Is The Relationship Between MSISDN and IoT?

IoT devices are becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, and as such, the way we interact with them is changing. One of the most significant changes is how we identify and authenticate IoT devices. In the past, many IoT devices were identified by their MAC address, a unique identifier assigned to each device by the manufacturer. However, this identification method has several drawbacks. First, it is difficult to keep track of MAC addresses for large numbers of devices. Second, MAC addresses can be spoofed, meaning someone could potentially impersonate an IoT device using its MAC address.

MSISDNs offer a much more secure and reliable way to identify IoT devices. MSISDNs are unique phone numbers assigned to each SIM card by a mobile network operator. This makes it impossible for someone to spoof an IoT device's MSISDN, and it also makes it much easier to keep track of large numbers of devices. In addition, MSISDNs can be used to send and receive text messages, which is a valuable communication method for many IoT applications.

If you are working on an IoT project that requires secure and reliable device identification, then you should consider using MSISDNs.

MSISDNs offer several advantages over other device identification methods, such as MAC addresses. First, they are much more difficult to spoof. Second, they are easy to keep track of. Third, they can be used to send and receive text messages. Fourth, MSISDNs are unique to each SIM card, offering a higher level of security. Fifth, MSISDNs can be recycled if a device is no longer in use, which helps to reduce waste.

There are a few things to remember when using MSISDNs for device identification. First, you must ensure that the mobile network operator supports MSISDNs. Second, you need to ensure that the devices you want to track have SIM cards compatible with the MSISDN standard. Finally, you need to decide how you want to manage the MSISDNs assigned to your devices. A few different options are available, such as using a web-based interface or an API.

If you are looking for a reliable and secure way to identify IoT devices, then you should consider using MSISDNs. MSISDNs offer many advantages over other device identification methods, and they can be used in various ways to track and manage devices. Please contact us if you need help deciding whether or not MSISDNs are suitable for your project. We would be happy to discuss your options with you and help you choose the best solution for your needs.

Has MSISDN Changed With Technology?

As technology has changed, so has the MSISDN. The most notable change is from fixed-line telephone numbers to mobile phone numbers. This means that people can now be reached on their mobile phones almost anywhere in the world.

MSISDNs are now also used for data services such as broadband and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This means people can have a single phone number for both voice and data services.

The use of MSISDNs is growing all the time as more and more people adopt mobile and data services. This trend is only set to continue as technology advances.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of MSISDN

There are both advantages and disadvantages to having an MSISDN. Some of the advantages include the ability to have a single number for both voice and data services, as well as the ability to use global roaming services. MSISDNs also make it easier for emergency services to locate subscribers using a mobile phone.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using an MSISDN. One of the most significant disadvantages is the fact that it can be expensive to have an MSISDN, especially if you are using global roaming services. Additionally, some mobile phone networks do not support MSISDNs, which means that you may not be able to use your mobile phone on those networks.

Also, Read: How to Protect Your Phone Number from Being Stolen?

Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or haseebawan@efani.com for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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