Mobile Subscription Identification Number

What is a mobile subscription identification number?

A mobile subscription identification number (MSIN), also known as the mobile identification number (MIN), allows a mobile network carrier to identify its individual subscribers. Each user receives a unique number up to 10 digits in length. 

You can find the MSIN in the last 10 digits of the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number. An MSIN is not always the same as the subscriber’s phone number, and it does not change if the user changes phone numbers. The MSIN is also not specific to a physical phone but is rather an entry in the carrier’s database. 

The International Telecommunications Union’s Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T) dictates the format of the IMSI and the MSIN it contains. 

What are the components of the mobile identification number? 

Even though the phone number and mobile identification number are not the same, the MIN may derive from the phone number. The code consists of two parts: MIN 1 and MIN 2. 

MIN 1 comes from the 24-bit number after the area code in a phone number. MIN 2 is the 10-bit mobile subscriber code. Together, they form the 34-bit MIN code. 

Regions outside of the United States derive the mobile identification number differently, hence the use of the international roaming MIN (IRM). 

How are mobile subscription identification numbers and the international mobile subscriber identity related? 

The international mobile subscriber identity contains the mobile subscription identification number within it. The IMSI code contains three sections. 

  • The first three digits make up the mobile country code (MCC), the region in which the subscriber resides. 
  • The next 2 or 3 digits are the mobile network code (MNC), identifying the network that issued the SIM card of the mobile device. 
  • The last section of the IMSI is the mobile subscription identification number, which identifies the exact subscriber within the mobile network. 

The IMSI, as a whole, contains enough information to pin down a user within a cellular network precisely. 

What purposes do mobile identification numbers fulfill? 

Mobile carriers must recognize individual users within their databases for several reasons. 

  • To authenticate users to access the network 
  • To route calls locally and internationally 
  • To ​prevent identity theft and SIM swapping fraud 

MSIN arose in respone to ​number portability becoming commonplace for mobile phone services. Once a subscriber switched providers, a unique identifier was necessary to keep track of the user. 

What are some related identifiers in cellular networking? 

The mobile subscription identification number, which refers to a subscriber, is not to be confused with other related identifiers popular in cellular networking. Others include: 

  • The integrated circuit card identification number (ICCID) identifies the subscriber identity module (SIM) card within an electronic device. 
  • The international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) identifies the electronic device within a network. You might find the IMEI printed on the battery of a device. 
  • The mobile station ISDN (MSISDN) is simply the phone number. Mobile equipment and devices that must route phone calls and text messages use this code. During calls or data transfers, the MSISDN essentially identifies the device itself to ensure secure connectivity. 

What are the benefits of an MSIN? 

  • User Identification: MSIN allows mobile network carriers to uniquely identify individual subscribers within their database. This identification is essential for providing personalized services and managing user accounts. 
  • Network Authentication: MSIN plays a crucial role in authenticating users and granting them access to the mobile network. It ensures that only authorized subscribers can use the network services, enhancing security and preventing unauthorized access. 
  • Call Routing: MSIN helps in routing calls efficiently within the network. It ensures that calls are directed to the correct subscriber based on their unique identification number, enabling seamless communication between users. 
  • Fraud Prevention: MSIN is an important component in preventing identity theft and SIM swapping fraud. By associating each subscriber with a unique MSIN, mobile carriers can detect and mitigate fraudulent activities, safeguarding the integrity of the network. 
  • Number Portability: With number portability becoming common in mobile services, MSIN allows carriers to keep track of subscribers even when they switch providers. This ensures a smooth transition and continuity of services for users. 

Overall, MSIN provides essential functionality for user identification, network authentication, call routing, fraud prevention, and supporting number portability in mobile networks. 

How does Sinch work with MSINs? 

Sinch leverages MSIN (Mobile Subscription Identification Number) as part of its communication solutions. Through our services, we enable seamless integration and utilization of MSIN for user identification, authentication, efficient call routing, and fraud prevention.