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The prehistory of virtual numbers goes back to the time when the first Internet telephone services and messaging programs appeared. This happened in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Initially, such services were mainly used for messaging and calling over the internet, bypassing traditional phone lines. With the advancement of technology and the move to mobile devices, virtual numbers have become widely used as a means of enhancing personal privacy online, which allows you to hide your phone number from outside individuals and companies.

What is a Virtual Phone Number?

A virtual phone number is a special phone number that has no attachment to a device and can run a physical chip (SIM card) in your phone. Thanks to special hardware and software, the user can get such a phone number remotely, via the Internet. They are usually used to receive SMS messages, but there are also options to receive calls or voicemail.

Reasons for the Popularity of Virtual Phone Numbers

One of the main reasons for the popularity of virtual numbers is their role in securing personal data online. They allow users to communicate without revealing their real phone number. This is especially important when dealing with online services, dating apps, online shopping and other virtual activities where it is not always necessary to disclose real contact details.

Virtual numbers help protect personal information from spam, phishing and unwanted calls. Users can use such numbers to register on websites or applications without worrying that their real data can be used by third parties for personal gain.

Thus, they have become an important tool for personal security in the digital environment. Their use helps users control the information they provide online and reduces the risk of misuse and identity leakage. It is important to remember that, despite their advantages, virtual numbers should be used responsibly and in accordance with the law.

Comparison of a Virtual Phone Number & Physical SIM Card

A physical SIM card and a virtual phone number provide similar benefits, but there are a few significant differences between the two:

Physical SIM card:

  • A physical device. A SIM card is a physical plastic card that you insert into your phone. It contains information about your phone number, network, and other data to access cellular service.
  • Binding to a carrier. SIM cards are linked to a specific cell phone carrier (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, etc.).
  • Functionality. With a physical SIM card, you have access to a communications network and can make calls, send messages, and use mobile data.

Virtual phone number:

  • No physical card. A virtual phone number is provided over the internet and does not require a physical SIM card.
  • Method of obtaining. Virtual numbers can be provided through mobile apps or online services that provide access to the number to receive SMS messages, but without a physical SIM card.
  • Flexibility and anonymity. They are typically used for confidential online registration or for temporary use. They can be easily replaced or removed, providing greater flexibility and anonymity.
  • Restriction of some features. Depending on the type of virtual number, you may have restrictions in the form of duration, number of messages, etc.

A physical SIM card usually requires physical presence for purchase and activation, while virtual numbers can be obtained online. Both types can be used to receive messages, but have different methods of provision, application and purpose of use.


Q: What is a physical SIM card?

A: A physical SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module) is a small plastic card that contains information about a subscriber to a cellular network, including phone number, authorization information, and service provider contact information.

Q: How is a physical SIM card used?

A: A SIM card is inserted into the SIM slot in a compatible device (such as a smartphone). It identifies the device on the carrier’s network and provides access to voice, messaging, and mobile data.

Q: What is the difference between a physical SIM card and a virtual number?

A: A physical SIM card is a specific physical card associated with a specific operator. A virtual number is a phone number provided over the internet without being linked to a physical SIM card.

Q: What is a virtual phone number?

A: A virtual number is a phone number that can be obtained online through applications or online services without the need for a physical SIM card. It is often used for online registration or for confidential communication.

Q: What are the advantages of virtual numbers over physical SIM cards?

A: Virtual numbers offer greater flexibility and can be easily replaced or deleted, providing anonymity. They can also be used without physical presence and are usually provided over the internet.


Physical SIM cards and virtual phone numbers are two different methods of providing network access and communications. A physical SIM card is a physical plastic card associated with a specific mobile operator, providing basic telephony functions. Virtual numbers, on the other hand, are provided online through apps or internet services, providing flexibility, anonymity and are often used for confidential communications and online registration.

Both options have their advantages and applications depending on the user’s needs: physical SIM cards are the basis for cellular communication, while virtual numbers can be convenient for online registration without the need to be physically present. Recognizing the differences between these methods will help users to choose the most appropriate option according to their needs and purposes of use.

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