What is MSISDN or Phone Number? How to check the phone number from the SIM?

MSISDN full form is Mobile Subscriber – ISDN number. It is a maximum of 15 digits long string of digits. The actual length varies from country to country. It uniquely identifies a mobile subscriber across the globe. In technical terms, an MSISDN is the sequence of digits along with other protocol-related information.

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

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 at any time.

Mobile terminated Call and MSISDN Use.
For a mobile terminated call, the GMSC sends the SendRoutingInfo GSM MAP operation with the dialed MSISDN digits. If a subscriber is online and allowed to 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.

MSISDN Format : 


CC or mobile country code is 1 to 3 digits long. CC Signifies the country, the number belongs to.  When a mobile subscriber dials a mobile phone number in national format, the country code in MSISDN is not present. There may be a zero in place of the country code.

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

Subscriber Number (SN): Subscriber digits. The mobile operator chooses these.  The figures append after 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 towards the home network of the subscriber. But there are differences. The following are the details for MSISDN vs IMSI.

  • The IMSI is embedded in a sim card while a mobile operator assigns MSISDN when the SIM registers on the network.
  • IMSI is of fixed length while MSISDN length varies. The MSISDN length depends on the number of subscribers a mobile operator wants to serve.
  • IMSI has MCC and MNC codes, while MSISDN has CC and NDC.
  • THE same SIM card can be assigned 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 way 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 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 phone number from 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 number grammatically on android:

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.