What is MSISDN Number, and how to get it from the SIM?

In simple terms, it is your phone number that other mobile subscribers use to call you or send a text message. A mobile operator assigns a subscription against it.

Phone and MSISDN Number
Phone and MSISDN Number

MSISDN is an abbreviation for Mobile Subscriber – ISDN Number. It is a sequence of digits with a maximum length of 15 digits. The exact length varies per country. It is used to identify a mobile subscriber across the globe uniquely.

MSISDN is more than just digits at the network level. Along with the dialed phone number, it contains further GSM protocol information.

The mobile operator of a country gets its range of numbers from the standard GSM body. The SIM card subscription on HLR has IMSI and MSISDN as the primary keys for a subscriber record. A subscriber can obtain the device’s phone number or MSISDN digits by various methods.

What is MDN and MSISDN relation?

The MDN stands for a mobile directory number. It is a dialable number in the CDMA network that can be used for calls and SMS. It is equivalent to the MSISDN in the GSM network. You may know that a CDMA handset does not carry a SIM card. So change in MDN may need to change the handset.

How does a mobile operator allocate MSISDN to the SIM?

On a network attach, HLR allocates to the sim card. Generally, this remains the same, but the serving mobile operator can change it anytime.

Mobile terminated Call and MSISDN role.

The GMSC sends the SendRoutingInfo GSM MAP operation for a mobile terminated call with the dialed MSISDN digits. If a subscriber is online and can receive the call, HLR returns SendRoutingInfoResponse with the MSRN and roaming MSC/VLR information.

Over the mobile network, an MSISDN carries information along with dialed digits. E.g., If a number is national or international. The format of MSISDN is in E.164 over the network, according to ITU-T. The additional information helps to decide the routing and other things. For example, if a number is of type international, the first few digits are the country code, and the call will be routed outside the country if it’s for another country.

What is Format for MSISDN?

MSISDN Format : 


The format mentioned above is international. To dial a number, a + sign at the start is required. Each subfield is discussed in detail below.

Mobile Country Code(CC) is 1 to 3 digits long.CC Indicates the country to which the number belongs. When a mobile subscriber dials a local mobile phone number, the country code should be omitted. A zero may be substituted for the country code.

For dialing outside of the country, the national format is used.

NDC or National Destination code: Identifies the area of a network operator within a country.

Subscriber Number (SN): Also referred to as subscriber digits. The mobile operator chooses these. The SN is appended following the CC + NDC.

Msisdn vs. Imsi:

In another tutorial, we have mentioned details about IMSI, which is another global identity for a subscriber. Both can be used to route messages toward the subscriber’s home network.

But there are key differences. The following are the details for MSISDN and IMSI comparison.

  • The IMSI is embedded in the SIM card, while the MSISDN is assigned by the mobile operator when the SIM registers on the network.
  • IMSIs have a fixed length, whereas MSISDNs have a variable length. The length of the MSISDN is determined by the number of subscribers a mobile operator wishes to serve.
  • MSISDN has CC and NDC codes, whereas IMSI has MCC and MNC codes.
  • The same SIM card can be assigned to another MSISDN, but to change IMSI, the subscriber has to change the SIM card.
  • To call a subscriber, MSISDN digits are dialed, not the IMSI.

How to check the phone number from SIM?

When a new sim card is purchased, the box has a printed phone number. It takes some time to memorize the phone number. But meanwhile may require to know what is my phone number from the device itself. The following are the ways to know MSISDN or phone numbers.

What is my phone number on Android?

These days android devices are ubiquitous. The phone shows the phone number in various settings. The exact steps may differ for different models of Android or os versions.

Find the phone number from about phone: 

Unlock the android device. 

Go to settings .

Scroll down to the about phone.   In about phone you can see the phone number or MSISDN. 
For the dual sim card, the about phone on android displays the mobile number for each sim card.

Find the phone number from the sim card manager:

Unlock the android device. 

Go to settings.

Got to connections.

Scroll down to SIM card manager. 

In sim card manager you can see each sim card entry with mobile number with the mobile operator name.

USSD code to get the phone number:

Each operator provides ussd codes for checking balance or other things. 
Most of the time the ussd response contains the mobile number. 
E.g on Airtel India if *121# is dialed. The response have mobile number along with the ussd menu.

WhatsApp to get the phone number.

It is a very common application on a android devices. Fetches the phone number or msisdn from the phone. 
Following are the steps to get mobile number. 

Open the WhatsAapp 

Go to settings, This will display the profile with name and other options. 

Click on profile, there you can see the phone number.

Get the number programmatically on an Android device:

The android  provides platform for develping mobile applications. The applications are developed in java. 
There are inbuild librarirs for accessing andriod devices from the java code. 
Following is the code to get mobile number form tha java code on android.

TelephonyManager phoneInfo = (TelephonyManager)mAppContext.getSystemService(Context.TELEPHONY_SERVICE);
String mobileNumber =phoneInfo getLine1Number();
The required permission also needs to set for the mobile application.

What is my phone number on the iPhone:

Iphone also provides the capability to get the own phone number from the device. 

Go to the phone screen. 

Go to the settings 

Go to phone option. This will display the phone number.