Is there a Difference between IMEI and IMSI Numbers?

If you have come across the following acronyms IMSI and IMEI, and you are scratching your head wondering what they mean and how they are different, then this article is for you.

We will look at the differences between the numbers and how they are significant in their way. Furthermore, we will also see what IMSI and IMEI mean and how you can find these numbers on your smartphone.

What is an IMEI Number?

IMEI refers to the international identity of mobile devices. A unique IMEI number is assigned to each mobile phone (and other mobile hotspot dots), which are printed internally, usually behind the battery. They are 15 numbers. Phone makers assign unique IMEI numbers to every phone, and those numbers stay the same once they're registered for the rest of their life. So even if you are traveling to other countries, telecom operators can select the country of origin to sell and register the phone.

The Global System for Mobile (GSM) association uses IMEI numbers as storage in a worldwide mobile database which also serves as a central base to all eligible network operators, phone manufacturers, and other manufacturers. During the regular cycle, the number is useful in determining things like your subscription usage (voice calls and internet) as well as determining if there are any quality issues with the services. Just as important as the serial number of other products is the IMEI number. Therefore, IMEI numbers are used to determine the authenticity of the phone with SIM card registration. This means that a wrong or incorrect IMEI number can cause phone services to be blocked. Furthermore, only IMEI numbers validate the phone and do not establish any direct relationship with the buyer.

What is a IMSI number?

IMSI indicates the identity of international mobile subscribers. The operator assigns a unique number assigned to the SIM card that they issue to its subscribers. IMSI number that contains 15 digits (not always) and can be used to find the subscriber's country and mobile network, among other SIM-related details. It is tied to the SIM card instead of the phone itself.

It should be noted that to protect subscriber privacy, telecom operators instead use another number called TMSI (Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity) while providing services to the owner of the SIM card. The operator uses TMSI to communicate with the subscriber. It is much shorter and easier to send.

How to find IMEI and IMSI numbers

If your phone came with a removable battery, you could find the IMEI number printed under the battery. If you check the original box, you will find it printed there. How about if you've thrown it away a long time ago? Alternatively, you can request a code * # 06 # in the Phone Dialer app to display a pop-up window with your IMEI number. It usually consists of 15 digits and is programmed into the phone.

There is another reason a mobile device might not have an IMEI number, but no one has proven it yet. Top government officials that have to deal with classified information are always security conscious, and there are rumors that the devices they use do not have IMEI numbers. They do this to eliminate any likelihood of enemies tracing them through their mobile phones.


On a final note, both numbers play an important role in preventing fraud and misuse on the network. To be able to maximize them, it is important users know the difference, unique function, and when to use them.