The MCC and the MNC are both essential elements of the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number. They are necessary to identify and find a cell phone device worldwide.


IMSI lookup is the process of obtaining the IMSI from a cell phone number. The IMSI provides complete information about the mobile operator and the subscriber. 

A more detailed search on the network operator allows you to access the MCC and MNC database.  It is possible to provide IMSI lookup service using HLR lookup service and accessing MCC and MNC databases.

Differences between MCC and MNC

The MCC (Mobile Country Code) is the mobile country code. It is found at the beginning of any phone number preceded by a + sign. In this case, the mobile country code for France is +33.

Then the MNC (Mobile Network Code), contains the name of the cell phone operator. As long as it belongs to a GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE network among others.

The Mobile Network Code (MNC) is a two-digit (North American) or three-digit (European standard) code that is used in combination with the Mobile Country Code (MCC) to uniquely identify a mobile network operator.

What is an MNC lookup?

An MNC lookup is part of a more global search called HLR lookup. It allows you to infer the MCC and MNC. Service providers use this information for number portability.

For example, if a number has been ported. The service provider will use MCC and MNC to get the global title of the HLR in service. Searching for MCC and MNC is useful for a service user who does not have access to the MNP database (portability database).

How do I find my MNC code?
How do I find my MNC code?

How do I find my MNC code?

The combination of MCC and MNC is called HNI (Home network identity) and corresponds to the combination of the two in one string.

For example, in France the MCC is 208. Then the network operators have their own MNC. In this case, Bouygues Telecom has three = 20, 88 and 21.

In this case, a MCC= 208 and MNC = 20 give an HNI of 20820.

The combination of the HNI with the MSIN (Mobile Subscriber Identification Number), gives you the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity).

Why is it important to know the MNC, the HNI and the IMSI?

The MSIN is similar to standard phone/mobile numbers, but it is not really the same thing.

In most countries, the MSIN is a 10-digit number that is derived from the cell phone number. It is composed of two different parts: the area code and the area/mobile subscriber code.

Why is it important to know the MNC, HNI and IMSI?
Why is it important to know the MNC, HNI and IMSI?

The MNC identifies the subscriber’s directory number, an electronic serial number that identifies the phone number, while the MSIN is used to identify the subscriber. The use of the MSIN became more prevalent after the introduction of mobile number portability, as subscribers were able to move from one provider to another, making the mobile/subscriber directory number a less favorable way to track subscribers.