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IMEI, ICCID, and EID: What is the difference?

Understanding the different identifiers in mobile connectivity.

· 7 min read

In the world of technology, acronyms and abbreviations are thrown around like confetti at a celebration. It can be overwhelming to keep up with all the jargon, especially when it comes to understanding the differences between EID, ICCID, and IMEI. These three terms may sound similar, and they all play crucial roles in mobile technology, but with distinct functions. So, let's dive in and unravel the mystery behind these puzzling initials.


What do EID, ICCID, and IMEI stand for?

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details, let's start with some basic definitions to set the groundwork.

EID stands for Embedded Identity Document, ICCID stands for Integrated Circuit Card Identifier, and IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. Although all three terms are identifiers, they are used to identify different things.

Now, let's explore each of these terms individually to get a clearer picture.

IMEI: International Mobile Equipment Identity

IMEI is a 15-digit unique number assigned to individual mobile devices. It acts as a digital fingerprint that enables network providers to identify and authenticate each mobile device. Additionally, the IMEI plays a crucial role in various security mechanisms, including tracking stolen devices and preventing unauthorized access.

When you purchase a mobile device, the IMEI is assigned to it by the manufacturer. This number is stored in the device's firmware and can be accessed from the settings of your device. Network providers use the IMEI to ensure that only authorized devices can connect to their networks, preventing fraudulent activities and protecting user privacy.

Moreover, the IMEI is a powerful tool in combating mobile device theft. By blacklisting stolen devices based on their IMEI numbers, network providers can render them useless on their networks, discouraging theft and making it harder for thieves to profit from stolen devices. Additionally, law enforcement agencies can use the IMEI to track and recover stolen devices, aiding in the fight against mobile device theft.

ICCID: Integrated Circuit Card Identifier Explained

The ICCID is a unique 18 or 19 digit string assigned to each SIM card. It plays a crucial role in the identification and activation of the SIM card within mobile networks. Think of it as the SIM card's personal identification number that helps service providers distinguish one SIM card from another. In the context of eSIMs, the ICCID is assigned to individual eSIM profiles.

When you insert a SIM card into your mobile device, the ICCID is used to establish a connection with the mobile network. It acts as a key that unlocks the SIM card's functionality, allowing you to make calls, send messages, and access mobile data. Without a valid ICCID, the SIM card (or eSIM) would be rendered useless.

Furthermore, the ICCID enables service providers to manage their SIM card (or eSIM) inventory efficiently. By keeping track of the ICCIDs associated with each SIM card (or eSIM), they can easily activate, deactivate, or transfer services between different devices. This ensures a seamless user experience and simplifies the process of managing mobile subscriptions.

Defining EID: Embedded Identity Document

In the context of mobile communication and eSIMs, the EID, or Embedded Identity Document, is a 32-digit unique identification number assigned to an eSIM chip in your device. It is embedded directly onto the hardware of the device during its manufacturing process. The EID allows for seamless authentication, tracking, and management of various electronic devices.

For example, imagine you have a smartphone. The EID of that device is a specific number that distinguishes it from all other smartphones in the world. This number is permanently assigned to the device and cannot be changed. It serves as a digital signature that verifies the authenticity of the device.


In essence, while all three values are identifiers, they are identifiers for different things:

  • IMEI identifies your mobile device (15 digits)
  • ICCID identifies a physical SIM card, or in the context of an eSIM, the eSIM profile (18 or 19 digits)
  • EID identifies the eSIM chip (32 digits)

Do eSIMs have both EID and ICCID, and are they the same?

Yes, eSIMs have both EID and ICCID. But no, they are not the same value.

While the distinction for an IMEI might be clearer (since it identifies the device), there could be some confusion around ICCID and EID, given they are both identifiers for eSIMs.

An eSIM is a chip that is embedded within your device, and the EID is associated to that chip. What this means is that even if you change providers and networks, the value of this EID will not change as long as you are using the same device. EIDs are often linked to manufacturers of the device rather than operators.

On the other hand, an ICCID is an identifier for your eSIM profile. This value is dependent on your network operator, so when you switch between eSIM profiles, the value of the ICCID will also be different.

What do EID, ICCID, and IMEI do?

Now that we've grasped the basic concepts, let's explore the role and significance of each of these identifiers in modern technology.

Electronic Identification (EID) has become increasingly important in today's interconnected world. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), countless devices rely on EID for seamless communication, authentication, and security. Whether it's your smartphone, smartwatch, or even your smart fridge, EID ensures that these devices can be identified and managed efficiently.

Furthermore, EID plays a crucial role in ensuring the privacy and security of personal information. By assigning a unique identifier to each device, EID helps prevent unauthorized access and protects sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. This level of security is especially important in industries such as healthcare, finance, and government, where the protection of personal information is of utmost importance.

What is the role of EID?

EID also enables seamless integration between different devices and platforms. For example, with EID, you can easily connect your smartphone to your smart home devices and control them remotely. This level of interoperability enhances convenience and efficiency in our daily lives.

Moreover, EID plays a vital role in enabling personalized user experiences. By recognizing individual devices, EID allows for tailored settings and preferences, ensuring that each user's specific needs are met. Whether it's customizing the layout of your smartphone's home screen or adjusting the temperature settings on your smart thermostat, EID empowers users to personalize their technology to suit their preferences.

How ICCID is important in mobile communication

When it comes to mobile communication, Integrated Circuit Card Identifier (ICCID) plays a vital role. This unique identifier allows mobile network providers to track and manage SIM cards within their networks. By assigning a specific ICCID to each SIM card, network providers can easily identify and authenticate devices on their networks.

Additionally, ICCID enables users to switch between different devices while keeping their mobile number and network subscription intact. This flexibility allows individuals to upgrade their devices without the hassle of changing phone numbers or transferring their subscriptions. Without ICCID, the process of activating and managing SIM cards would be much more complex and time-consuming.

Furthermore, ICCID helps prevent fraud and unauthorized use of mobile networks. By associating each SIM card with a specific ICCID, network providers can detect and block suspicious activities, such as SIM card cloning or unauthorized SIM card usage. This level of security ensures that mobile networks remain reliable and protected from potential threats.

Why you need an IMEI in Mobile Devices

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is the backbone of security and identification in the realm of mobile devices. This unique number ensures that the device you're using is genuine and not a counterfeit. IMEI is embedded in the hardware of the device during manufacturing, making it difficult to alter or manipulate.

In addition to its role in verifying the authenticity of mobile devices, IMEI aids in locating lost or stolen devices. When a device is reported as lost or stolen, law enforcement agencies can use the IMEI number to track and recover the device. This feature has proven to be invaluable in combating smartphone theft and reducing the black market for stolen devices.

Moreover, IMEI plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and security of mobile networks. By blacklisting devices with reported stolen IMEI numbers, network providers can prevent these devices from accessing their networks. This proactive measure helps deter theft and protects users from potential security risks.

In conclusion, EID, ICCID, and IMEI are essential identifiers in modern technology. They enable seamless communication, enhance security, and provide personalized user experiences. From the Internet of Things to mobile communication and device security, these identifiers play a vital role in shaping our interconnected world.

Does my eSIM-compatible phone have both an EID and IMEI?

Yes, your device will have both an EID and IMEI number, and they are not the same number.

While both identifiers contribute to seamless communication and security, they have different scopes and applications. EID, as mentioned earlier, is associated with specifically the eSIM. It is required to provision your eSIM profile, and it acts as a gateway to establish and authenticate the connection between your device and the network.

IMEI, on the other hand, is specifically associated with the mobile device. It plays a crucial role in device identification, security features, and network compatibility. Mobile network operators and device manufacturers use the IMEI to ensure that devices meet regulatory standards, are compatible with specific networks, and can be easily identified in case of theft or security concerns. When it comes to blacklisting of phones in the case of theft or loss, the IMEI number is also the number that is referenced.

How do EID, ICCID, and IMEI work together?

All three values are important in the provisioning of secure mobile connectivity.

To put it simply, the ICCID is a number that the network operator assigns to your plan — it acts like an identifier of your plan so that the network operator can correctly provide you with the specifics of your plan, and to bill you according to your usage.

The EID is a number that is required so that your eSIM profile can be provisioned to the correct eSIM chip (and correct device), so that you can use your plan on your device.

And finally, the IMEI is checked to ensure that the device that you are using complies to regulations, is compatible with the network, and is a valid device.

How do you find your EID, ICCID, and IMEI numbers?

When troubleshooting connectivity issues, you might sometimes need to find your EID, ICCID, and/or IMEI numbers. Here is how you can do so:

  • How to find your EID number: Your EID number is usually listed on the box that comes with your device purchase. However, if you have thrown it away or if you do not have your box with you, you can still find the number in your device settings. Go to Settings > About Phone > Status Information on your Android phone; or Settings > General > About on your iPhone to locate the EID number.
  • How to find your ICCID: Your ICCID is usually printed on your SIM card. The easiest way is for you to take out your SIM card to find the number.
  • How to find your IMEI number: Your IMEI number is usually listed on the box that comes with your device purchase. However, if you have thrown it away or if you do not have your box with you, you can still find the number in your device settings. Go to Settings > About Phone > Status Information on your Android phone; or Settings > General > About on your iPhone to locate the IMEI number.