Cell tower locations are vital to the quality of the 4G LTE and 5G wireless service that you receive in a particular area. As such, cell tower locators, in the form of maps and mobile applications, play a crucial role in helping you find the nearest cell tower, which can deliver the greatest signal strength to you.
To find 4G LTE and 5G cell towers in your area, use a cell tower map website called CellMapper or the mobile applications Network Cell Info (Android) and OpenSignal (iOS). Additionally, field test mode on your mobile device and cell tower company websites are two more ways to find cell towers.
To assist you in finding the nearest 4G LTE and 5G cell tower locations in your area, Dgtl Infra has reviewed five cell tower map websites, three mobile apps used to locate cell towers, one hidden identification method requiring only your smartphone, and three websites from the largest independent cell tower companies in the United States. Read on to learn which method works best for you.
How Do I Find Cell Towers Near Me?
To find cell towers near you, try using a cell tower map, a mobile app to locate cell towers, your phone’s built-in signal strength (dBm) reading using field test mode, and cell tower company websites. Below we explain each of these four ways to find cell towers in further detail:
1) Cell Tower Maps
Cell tower maps provide a straightforward way to find 4G LTE and 5G sites in close proximity to your location, whether you are at home, the office, or pretty much anywhere. Given that wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile do not publish “official” cell tower maps, your best resources are maps created by independent providers like CellMapper, CellReception, AntennaSearch, and SCADACore.
Generally, all four of these cell tower maps allow you to search by location (street, city, state, ZIP code) or by simply panning and zooming-in on a specific geography to view cell towers. While some mapping tools, like CellMapper, have much more comprehensive search functionality.
Key characteristics of these four cell tower maps are summarized in the table below:
|5G Tower Locations||Yes||No||No||No|
|# of Towers||High||Moderate||Moderate||Low|
Importantly, the following cell tower maps should be used as only one reference point to find your nearest cell tower, as they may not always be 100% correct. Moreover, wireless carriers like Verizon are regularly building new cell towers and removing their equipment from older cell towers (known as decommissioning), which means the cell tower landscape in the United States is constantly changing.
CellMapper is a crowd-sourced 4G LTE and 5G cell tower locator and coverage mapping application. The application measures the signal strength and other network data collected by end users and applies this data to locate cell towers and their coverage.
Using this cell tower information, CellMapper provides a graphical representation of the data on a map, applying OpenStreetMap, Esri, and USGS (United States Geological Survey) as base layer mapping options.
CellMapper offers four primary ways to search for cell tower locations, specifically, these methods are by: provider (e.g., Verizon), location (street or city), tower, and BSIC/PCI/PSC. Additionally, panning and zooming-in on a specific geography is possible.
Below we review an example of CellMapper’s data using a Verizon cell tower in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
CellMapper – Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Cell Tower Example
CellMapper indicates that cell tower 148012 has the approximate address of 641 Northwest 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Also, this cell tower is denoted by a green circle on the map, indicating that CellMapper has “Verified” this tower, as opposed to a red circle, which indicates a tower is “Unverified”.
By clicking on cell tower 148012, CellMapper shows that, through this structure, Verizon offers 4G LTE and LTE Advanced (LTE-A) service using the 2, 13, and 66 frequency bands. More specifically, these frequency bands are:
- PCS Blocks A-F: Band 2 (1900 MHz)
- Upper SMH Block C: Band 13 (700 MHz)
- AWS-3: Band 66 (1700/2100 MHz)
Additionally, CellMapper identifies the specific uplink and downlink frequencies used by each cell and the maximum signal (RSRP) received from this LTE cell network.
Cell phone signal strength is measured in decibel-milliwatt (dBm) units and, as illustrated in the legend above, signal strength ranges from -40 dBm to -140 dBm. Generally, the range of signal that you will experience as an end user is between -50 dBm (green) to -120 dBm (red), and once you reach -125 dBm and below, you will effectively have no signal (i.e., no service) whatsoever.
As shown below, further inspection of cell tower 148012, using Google Street View, identifies it as a site owned by American Tower, the largest independent tower company in the world.
American Tower – Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Cell Tower Example
Overall, this ground-based cell tower is a monopole structure, rising to a height of 121 feet above ground level (AGL) and situated on a ground elevation of 5 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). Monopoles are a cost-effective way to build cell towers, particularly in urban and suburban locations.
READ MORE: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Cell Tower?
CellReception utilizes data on cell towers sourced from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and overlays this information onto Google Maps. This locator provides only basic information, including the address of a cell tower and its ownership details.
In terms of search, CellReception offers two primary methods to find cell towers:
- Location: city and state
- Wireless Carrier: allows cell tower data to be filtered by the coverage of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile
Below is an example of CellReception’s data using a T-Mobile cell tower located at 474 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois:
CellReception – Chicago, Illinois – Cell Tower Example
Additionally, CellReception provides a number of user-generated submissions of cell tower lease rates for locations throughout the United States.
AntennaSearch is a database containing information on cell towers and antennas in the United States, which requires you to enter an address, including city and state, to begin. This locator sources cell tower data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Initially, AntennaSearch provides the number and list of towers and antennas within a 3-mile radius of the address you entered. Also, this tool maps all of these cell towers, using Apple Maps as its base layer.
By clicking on a specific cell tower, AntennaSearch delivers more detailed information, including the date the cell tower was constructed, its ground elevation, the height of the structure, and its ownership information.
Below is an example of AntennaSearch’s data using an AT&T cell tower located at 811 10th Avenue, New York City, New York. This AT&T cell tower sits on top of the AT&T Switching Center for New York City, which is a 370-foot-tall skyscraper.
AntennaSearch – New York City, New York – Cell Tower Example
SCADACore’s United States cell tower map features over 25,000 locations with corresponding tower and radio details, using Google Maps as its base layer. The underlying cell tower information for this locator is obtained from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In terms of search, SCADACore can find a particular cell tower location by latitude and longitude coordinates. Alternatively, you can simply pan and zoom-in on a specific geography to reveal a cell tower’s location using SCADACore.
Once a cell tower is identified, SCADACore provides details on its site elevation and antenna height. Additionally, by entering your own coordinates and clicking on a cell tower, the tool can determine the topography and line-of-sight information between your coordinates and the cell tower.
Below is an example of SCADACore’s data using a cell tower located at 942 Market Street, San Francisco, California. Unfortunately, SCADACore’s system does not cover details on the wireless carrier at this location.
SCADACore – San Francisco, California – Cell Tower Example
Tip: if you want to find cell tower locations from a primary data source, check-out the FCC’s antenna structure registration (ASR) database, which is outlined below.
Antenna Structure Registration (ASR)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tracks cell tower structure registrations via its antenna structure registration (ASR) system. Through this database and locator, you can search for cell towers by registration number, owner name, location, and various unique identification numbers.
Notably, cell tower owners are often required to post a sign identifying their tower’s antenna structure registration (ASR) number, which is commonly labeled as “FCC Registration Number”, “FCC ASR #”, or “FCC Tower ID”. Typically, these signs are mounted on the outside of the cell tower ground space, on the perimeter fencing.
An example of an American Tower site in Miami, Florida with the “FCC ASR #” of 1048225 is shown below:
American Tower – Miami, Florida – Antenna Structure Registration (ASR)
Antenna structure registration (ASR) numbers can be helpful for looking-up the details on specific cell towers in the FCC’s database. However, the FCC does not require all antenna structures to be registered, therefore, a significant number of cell towers across the United States will not appear in the FCC’s database.
Once a search has been made in the FCC’s ASR database, the results can be displayed visually using the “Map Result(s)” feature. An example of this functionality, using American Tower’s cell sites in Miami, Florida, is shown below:
Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) – Miami, Florida – American Tower
Overall, the FCC’s antenna structure registration (ASR) system delivers information including the date a cell tower was constructed, its ground elevation, the height of the structure, and its ownership information.
2) Mobile Apps to Locate Cell Towers
There are several mobile applications or “apps” available to locate cell towers, with the most useful ones being Network Cell Info, OpenSignal, and LTE Discovery. These locator apps help you determine the general position of the nearest cell tower to you and they provide information about the quality of signal strength in your area.
|Application||Network Cell Info||OpenSignal||LTE Discovery|
|Operating System||Android||iOS (iPhone) / Android||Android|
|Downloads||5+ million||10+ million||1+ million|
|Star Rating||4.4 stars||4.4 / 4.3 stars||4.2 stars|
Network Cell Info
Network Cell Info is currently only available for the Android mobile operating system. This cellular network and Wi-Fi monitoring app provides measurement and diagnostic tools for technology standards including 5G, LTE+, LTE, CDMA, WCDMA, and GSM.
Three different versions of the application, known as Network Cell Info Lite, Network Cell Info, and Network Cell Info Pro, are available.
As shown below, key features of the Network Cell Info app include a signal meter with dB and dBm readings for cellular coverage, identification of the bands that cell towers in a particular area broadcast on, and a visual representation of cell locations (i.e., not cell towers) on a map, utilizing Mozilla Location Service (MLS).
Overall, the Network Cell Info app provides an accurate method of measuring your cellular signal strength, in a far more reliable way than simply using the bars displayed at the top of your cell phone.
Opensignal is a mobile connectivity and network signal speed test tool which is available for the iOS (iPhone) and Android mobile operating systems. By tapping on Opensignal’s arrow icon, you can “Follow the Arrow” or signal compass in the direction of the nearest 2G/3G and 4G LTE cell tower location (5G is not available). As you move, the signal compass will shift correspondingly in the direction of the nearest cell tower.
Additionally, by tapping the map pin icon and then selecting your operator (Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile), the Opensignal app will color portions of a map in your area with green for “good coverage” and red for “bad coverage”.
LTE Discovery is currently only available for the Android mobile operating system. This signal discovery and analysis app offers the following key features:
- Identification of the 4G LTE bands that Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile cell towers in your area broadcast on, as well as their corresponding dB and dBm readings
- For supported new devices, the app also identifies 5G bands
READ MORE: What’s the Difference Between 4G LTE and 5G?
While the LTE Discovery app does not display precise 4G LTE and 5G cell tower locations, it has an arrow or signal compass that points in the direction of the cell tower that you are connected to.
Other Mobile Apps
Two additional iOS (iPhone) mobile apps which help find cell towers are Cellular Network Signal Finder and Cell Antennas. However, it is worth noting that both of these apps have very poor ratings (i.e., less than 2.5 stars).
3) Signal Strength (dBm) Using Field Test Mode
By using your phone’s built-in signal strength (dBm) reading, through “Field Test Mode” on iOS and Android, you can reverse engineer where the nearest cell tower to you is located. For this exercise, it is worth remembering that generally, the range of signal that you will experience is between -50 dBm (strong) to -120 dBm (very weak), and that at -125 dBm and below, you will effectively have no signal (i.e., no service).
iPhone (iOS) – Field Test Mode
Below are the step-by-step instructions on how to enter “Field Test Mode” on an iPhone when using iOS 13, 14, and 15. Additionally, for older versions of iPhones, using iOS 11 and 12, a step-by-step is video is provided.
iOS 15 – Field Test Mode
- Using the Phone app, dial *3001#12345#*, which places your phone into “Field Test Mode”
- Your dBm reading may be visible on the dashboard’s rsrp section. If not, proceed to the following step:
- Tap the three lines icon on the top right corner of the menu
- Tap “Cell Info” or “Serving Cell Info”
- Your dBm reading is shown as “rsrp”, which stands for reference signal received power
- To exit “Field Test Mode” simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause in the middle of the screen, then swipe up on the app’s preview to close “Field Test Mode”
iOS 13 and 14 – Field Test Mode
- Dial *3001#12345#*
- Tap the three lines icon on the top right corner of the menu
- Tap on “Serving Cell Meas”, which contains measurements taken from the “serving” cell tower
- Your dBm reading is shown as “rsrp0” or “rsrp1”
- rsrp0: represents the cell tower that you are connected to, which is nearest to you
- rsrp1: represents the cell tower which is second nearest to you
Older Versions – iOS 11 and 12 – Field Test Mode
For older versions of iPhones, using iOS 11 and 12, differences arise in accessing “Field Test Mode” for iPhones that have a Qualcomm chipset and an Intel chipset. As such, the following is a video explaining how to access “Field Test Mode” in these older iOS versions:
Android – Field Test Mode
Below are the step-by-step instructions on how to enter “Field Test Mode” using the Android mobile operating system. Typically, Android users can access this mode as follows:
- Tap “Settings”
- Tap “About Phone” or “About Device”
- Tap “Status” or “Network”
- Your dBm reading should be displayed under “Signal Strength”
- If not, look for “Network Type” or “SIM Status” and you should then see your dBm reading
4) Cell Tower Company Websites
The three largest independent cell tower companies in the United States, namely American Tower, Crown Castle, and SBA Communications, each provide maps for their own cell towers on their respective websites. Presently, these companies do not distinguish between their 4G LTE and 5G cell tower locations.
American Tower operates 42,865 cell towers in the United States & Canada. To access American Tower’s site locator, you must first register for an American Tower account.
Once using the site locator tool, you will be able to search for available cell towers, locate sites which are nearest to a specific address or location, and apply various filters to isolate only sites meeting your desired criteria.
Crown Castle operates 40,128 cell towers in the United States. The company’s nationwide footprint of towers is available on Crown Castle’s Infrastructure Solutions webpage.
Initially, when using the map, deselect all other digital infrastructure types (small cells, fiber, on-net buildings, connected data centers) to focus solely on cell towers.
Crown Castle’s cell tower network map allows you to search by address or place. Additionally, you can simply pan to and zoom-in on a specific geography to view Crown Castle’s cell towers.
SBA Communications operates 17,395 cell towers in the United States. The company’s cell tower locator can be viewed through its SBA Sites website.
SBA Sites allows you to search by address, latitude & longitude, and site ID or name. Similarly, you can pan to and zoom-in on a specific geography to view SBA’s cell towers.
How Do I Find 5G Towers Near Me?
To find 5G towers near you, the best location resource currently is the CellMapper application. Under “Provider” select your wireless carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) and then, under “Network” select 5G – NR, which stands for 5G New Radio. While CellMapper’s coverage of 5G cell tower locations is currently very limited, it does help in identifying some specific 5G sites.