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printed October 9, 2015
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(Electronic Serial Number)

A permanent 32-bit number embedded by the manufacturer that uniquely identifies a wireless communications device.

ESNs are most commonly used in phones and devices using CDMA technology. GSM phones use a simlar type of code called an IMEI instead.


The ESN and a Mobile Identification Number (MIN) are both automatically transmitted to the wireless network each time the phone is used, which associates that phone with the subscriber's account and phone number.

See: MIN

In 2006, manufacturers started running out of unique ESNs, requiring a transition to the new MEID standard to replace ESN.


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