There are millions of cellular phone users all over the world, each one using different makes and models of cell phones. You may be wondering how manufacturers keep track of these handsets. Every cell phone unit has a unique electronic serial number or ESN. In some units, it is also called the International Mobile Equipment Indicator or IMEI. It is very much like the fingerprint of your cell phone, since there are no two units that have the same ESN number.
Knowing the ESN number of your cell phone lets the customer service representative identify your phone unit. It also lets you know that your phone is authentic, meaning it’s not a stolen unit. Here’s how to look up a cell phone ESN number.
- Know the different terms of the serial number of the phone. Look for ESN, S/N or IMEI. All these refer to the unique serial number of the handset. Depending on your phone unit and where it was made, any of these three abbreviations are used to refer to the same thing. The ESN is a long series of numbers, usually about 15 digits.
- Look at the bottom of the battery. Turn off the cell phone. Remove the battery from the unit. On the phone unit, you should see a small sticker indicating the ESN or IMEI of the phone. It may also be listed as serial number or S/N.
- Check the box of the product. When you buy the phone, look at the box that the unit came in. There should be a sticker right on the packaging. The sticker usually says the maker and model of the cell phone unit. Below it is the ESN number. There may be other identifying information on the box, such as the color of the handset and what country the unit was made in.
- Use your handset. When you turn on the phone, go to the main menu. Select “Settings.” See if you have the option to choose “Phone info.”
- Check under “Options.” Some phones have the ESN of the unit saved on the device itself. For example, for Blackberry phone models, you can select “Options” on the menu bar and click on “Status” to retrieve the ESN of the phone.
- Call your network provider. If you purchased the unit through a network provider, you may be able to retrieve the ESN from them. This is especially useful if your phone unit was stolen or lost. This way, no one else can use the lost or stolen unit since the service provider can trace the unit and deactivate it.
As you can see, it’s very easy to find the ESN of the phone unit. Keep in mind that the ESN is determined by the manufacturer and not the phone service provider. The cell phone company can only assist you but not change the ESN of the phone unit. When you activate a phone line, call the customer service number to authenticate your activation and the ESN of your unit. If there’s a problem with the ESN, the service provider will tell you right away.