What are MSISDN, IMSI and eUICC numbers? Their use explained

In the intricate world of mobile telecommunications and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology, unique identifiers like MSISDN, IMSI, and eUICC numbers play a critical role. This article explores these terms, diving deep into their structures, functionalities, real-world applications, and security aspects.

  • Understanding MSISDN (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number)

MSISDN is an abbreviation for Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number. This unique identifier corresponds to a mobile user within the mobile network and aids in routing calls and messages to the correct device. The structure of an MSISDN includes the country code, national destination code (network provider), and the unique subscriber number.

The country code designates the country of the mobile user, while the national destination code identifies the specific network provider within that country. The subscriber number is the individual’s unique identifier within that specific network. Together, these components allow for precise identification and routing within telecommunications networks, including those used by Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

  • Real-world Applications of MSISDN

In today’s world, MSISDNs are invaluable in telecommunications, playing a significant role in M2M communication and IoT devices. The unique MSISDN associated with a SIM card allows IoT devices to interact with mobile networks and enables M2M communication by providing a clear, unique address for each device.

This precise identification is particularly crucial in large-scale IoT deployments, where thousands of devices may be operating simultaneously. With MSISDN, each device can communicate effectively, transmitting valuable data to centralised platforms for processing and analysis.

  • Diving into IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity)

The International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is another vital component of mobile networks. This unique identifier is stored in the SIM card and used to identify subscribers on the mobile network. The IMSI consists of three primary components: Mobile Country Code (MCC), Mobile Network Code (MNC), and Mobile Subscription Identification Number (MSIN).

The MCC represents the country of the subscriber, while the MNC identifies the specific mobile network in that country. The MSIN, like the subscriber number in an MSISDN, is the unique identifier for the individual subscriber within the specific network. Together, these components ensure accurate identification and authentication of subscribers on telecommunication networks.

  • IMSI: Key to Global Roaming

The IMSI is a critical component that enables international roaming services, allowing users to access their home mobile network services while in a different country. For IoT applications, this ability is invaluable, as it ensures seamless connectivity across different geographical regions, critical for global-scale IoT deployments.

IMSI-based roaming allows IoT devices to maintain their connection to the home network, even when they’re operating in different countries, ensuring the consistent flow of data and maintaining the integrity of M2M communications.

  • Unveiling eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card)

The Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card, or eUICC, is a significant leap forward from traditional SIM cards. Unlike a conventional SIM, which is tied to a specific mobile network provider, an eUICC can host multiple operator profiles and switch between them without needing to physically swap the card. This feature makes eUICCs particularly valuable for IoT and M2M communications, as it enables devices to switch networks based on factors like coverage and cost.

  • eUICC: A Game-Changer for IoT and M2M Communications

The flexibility and scalability of eUICC make it an essential component in IoT and M2M deployments. Its ability to switch network profiles provides unprecedented flexibility in network management, while its potential for long-term use contributes to scalability and longevity. These attributes make it easier to manage large-scale IoT deployments, as devices can be easily reconfigured to new network profiles without the need for physical intervention.

  • Security Aspects of MSISDN, IMSI, and eUICC

In terms of security, these identifiers play key roles in ensuring the safe transmission of data. MSISDN and IMSI are crucial in verifying the identity of devices within a network, aiding in the prevention of unauthorised access. The eUICC, on the other hand, stores these identifiers securely and can switch profiles to help avoid single-point failures.

However, these identifiers are not entirely devoid of security risks. For instance, IMSI catchers can intercept these identifiers to track and monitor devices. In response, several mitigation strategies are in place, including encryption and use of temporary identities. With the continued development of IoT and M2M technologies, the security of these identifiers remains an area of active research and development.