What is an ICCID number?
ICCID stands for ‘Integrated Circuit Card Identification Number’. It is a unique 18–22 digit code that is made up of information about the SIM, including its home network, country code and identification number. The ICCID is usually located on the back of the SIM card, or in the packaging.
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) use a SIM card’s ICCID number to determine whether it can connect to their network. It also outlines the level of access it requires within that network. This is why manufacturers of IoT devices need to have an in depth understanding of ICCIDs and how they work.
What do ICCID numbers represent?
The ICCID number is made up of 18-22 digits. By splitting it up into sections, we can identify specific information about the SIM card.
- The Major Industry Identifier (MII) is a code that is used to identify the type of chip that is trying to connect. A MII starting with the letters 89 indicates that this is a SIM card and not an alternative chip such as those found on credit cards.
- The Country Code (CC) should not be mistaken with the Mobile Country Code (MCC) found in an IMSI number. The CC outlines the country or region your SIM card can operate in. This 2-digit code is outlined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T).
- The Issuer Identification Number (IIN) is used to identify the base network of your SIM card. This 1-4 digit code will be unique to the MNO that has issued the SIM card to you. For example, Vodafone.
- The Individual Account Number (IAN) is a set of digits that is unique to the SIM card itself. No other SIM in the world will share this combination of numbers with your SIM card.
- The final digit is applied to the ICCID by the Luhn algorithm (L).
All ICCID numbers follow the same format:
89 (MII) + 44 (CC for United Kingdom) + 10 (IIN for Vodafone) + 012345678910 (IAN) + 8 (L)
In this example, the ICCID would appear on the physical SIM card as 894410012345678910 8.
Where can I find my ICCID number?
It’s important that you know where to find the ICCID number for your SIM card. The most obvious place is on the SIM itself, or the packet it came in. However, you might not have access to the SIM card and you may have thrown the packet away.
If you insert the SIM card into a device such as a mobile phone, you can often find the ICCID in the settings menu. If you’re using an IoT device, navigate to your device’s module as you’ll have to use an AT command. These commands will look something like this:
- SIMCOM: “AT+CCID=?”
- Telit: “AT#CCID=?”
- Quectel: “AT+QCCID=?”
In many cases, this can be a technical step too far for anyone trying to find an ICCID number. Fortunately, some Connectivity Management Platforms (CMPs), such as NOVA, will also allow you to see the ICCID number for your SIM card with ease.
How do Mobile Network Operators use ICCID numbers?
When you’ve inserted a SIM card into a device, it searches for any available networks. It then uses the SIM profile (made up of the ICCID and IMSI numbers) to determine whether it has the correct access to use the networks it has identified.
If the SIM card doesn’t have access to any of the available networks, then it won’t be able to use them. The only exception to this rule is when you need to contact the emergency services as devices can often call them without a SIM card.