With the launch of next-generation 5G wireless networks becoming a reality, more and more cell towers are being built every day. But no matter which smartphone you prefer or which carrier you subscribe to for cell service, when it comes to good cell reception, location matters.
Your location in proximity to the surrounding cell towers, that is. You may ask, is there such thing as a cell tower locater?
Experiencing low bars and not being able to call, text, or scroll through your Facebook account (even temporarily) can be extremely frustrating. Especially in an emergency situation. However, just knowing the closest cell tower location can often provide the quick fix you need for bad cell reception. The first step is understanding what it takes to locate a nearby cell tower.
Finding the closest cell phone tower in your neighborhood, or even on the go, doesn’t have to be a difficult task. It all starts by familiarizing yourself with some helpful, easy to use, and free resources for locating cell towers that can be found online.
Quick Ways to Find Cell Towers Near You:
- Use a Cell Tower Locator Map like CellMapper.net
- Find your cell carrier’s nearest cell tower by going to their cell tower map – See below
- Use an App like OpenSignal, Network Cell Info Lite, or Cellular Network Signal Finder
- Rely on Your Smartphone’s Antenna – Find instructions below
- Try a cell phone signal booster to capture the signal from nearby cell towers
1. Use a Cell Tower Locator Map
When it comes to knowing the location of the closest cell tower and which direction your signal is coming from, nothing is more handy or intuitive than a cell phone tower map. With a map, orienting yourself with the surrounding cell towers is no different than identifying landmarks or planning destinations for a trip.
Best of all, most web-based cell tower maps do the locating and plotting for you—conveniently integrating your cell tower search within Google Maps.
Here are a few online resources to consider for conducting your own cell phone tower search:
CellMapper.net – Favorite
This cell tower map locator is our favorite for its intuitive interface and various filtering options. Just select your service provider, network speed and enter in your address or zip code and you’ll quickly see the closest cell towers.
Expert Tip: Make sure to select the correct country that you live in when selecting the cell carrier you use. For Verizon: type in “311”. For AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile: type in “310”. This will help you to select the correct carrier at your location.
(screenshot from cellmapper.net)
CellReception.com – Second Best
If a cell phone tower is registered with the FCC, it can be easily found on the Towers page. Just enter the city and state for your search and click “Go.” A great feature of the site’s search engine is its filtering capability. Only interested in the location of the nearest Verizon towers? Just check the Verizon Tower box. User-generated ratings and reviews based on the personal experience with local cell reception can provide additional insights.
AntennaSearch.com – Powerful, but complicated
Gaining quick access to a comprehensive list of every cell phone tower within a three-mile radius of your location using this site begins with entering a street address into the site’s search engine. Plotted on Google Maps, exact addresses are given for registered cell towers—along with details on the tower’s height, date of construction, and its owner. This site has extensive information, however, the design is outdated and not intuitive for the average user.
2. Find Your Service Provider’s Nearest Cell Tower
As you might guess, each of the big four telecom providers offers online access to their own interactive coverage maps.
Verizon Cell Towers
Rather than showing cell phone tower locations, the Verizon coverage map informs users of the coverage type and signal quality that you can expect based on the mapped address you put in the search bar (e.g. 4G LTE Quality: Excellent). To learn more about how to interact with their cell tower map read more here.
AT&T Cell Towers
The AT&T coverage map features approximate wireless voice coverage for your mapped address, including third-party coverage. It’s very easy to use since you can also search by your current location and the types of coverage are color-coded on the map.
Sprint Cell Towers
Sprint’s coverage map allows users to determine what level of 4G LTE and Non-LTE signal they can expect for data and voice for their location based on which cellular device they have.
T-Mobile Cell Towers
T-Mobile’s interactive map allows you to compare the coverage and signal strength for your address against what you can expect from the other three major carriers. They also have a cell tower search where you can enter in your address and locate the nearest cell tower.
3. Utilize Cell Tower Locating Smartphone Apps
If you want a quick resource at your fingertips for locating cell phone towers, consider downloading a cell tower finder app. No matter what you’re looking for in a cell tower locator app, chances are the App Store or Google Play has one that fits your needs.
Some popular apps for finding cell phone towers are below:
OpenSignal – Preferred for iPhones & Androids
The OpenSignal app, available for iPhone and Android, features coverage maps for all major networks based on data crowdsourced from millions of users. The app helps you see 2G, 3G, and 4G network availability (along with stats and speeds experienced on networks worldwide) to help accurately measure the everyday experience you can expect on your cellular device. Watch our video below to learn how to use this app to find cell towers!
Network Cell Info Lite – *Top Rated For Androids*
Network Cell Info Lite app is exclusive to Android users but is one of the most highly-rated cell tower locater apps in Google Play. This app shows you cell tower locations based on their database so you can easily track signal strength in a specific area. This app can monitor wifi and cell signal in real-time and can show you maps with network cellular info and signal-meter gauges.
Cell Tower Locator – For Androids
Cell Tower Locator app allows users to get the approximate position of cell towers within a stored database. The app’s interface provides cell IDs, signal strength, and GPS location. According to the developers of Cell Tower Locator, the precision of the estimated cell position is better for sites with three cells detected. If only one cell is visible it’s likely a cell serving area, not a position.
Cellular Network Signal Finder – *Top Rated for iPhones*
Simply download this app and allow it to use your current location to find the cell towers in your area. Refresh the map to see even more cell towers next to you. One downside of this app is that you can’t filter by your preferred service provider.
LTE Speed Coverage Map – For iPhones
If you’re curious about how fast your cell phone connection is where you live, work, or visit, anywhere in the U.S., check out the LTE Speed Coverage Map app. This handy tool lets you view the average download and upload speed for each of the four major wireless carriers. The app also provides the average ping (or response time in milliseconds) between your mobile device and surrounding cell towers within a radius of two miles up to 90 miles.
4. Rely on Your Smartphone’s Antenna
Did you know the antenna in your phone is another way to find the nearest cell tower?
But before you dive in, it’s helpful to understand the basics of dBm, which is what cell phone signals are measured in. dBm is typically expressed as a negative number, -88 for example. The closer to zero the reading is, the stronger the cell signal. So, a reading of -80 is stronger than -95.
Just follow these steps to put your phone in field test mode:
For AT&T or T-Mobile (or any iPhone with the Intel chipset)
- Tap on LTE
- Tap 0n Serving Cell Measure
- dBm reading is identified as rsrp0.
For Sprint or Verizon (or any iPhone with the Qualcomm chipset)
- For all models except iPhone X, turn off LTE by going to Settings, then Cellular, then Cellular Data Options
- Tap on 1x EV-DO
- The dBm reading is the number identified as Rx AGCO
- You can turn LTE on again after viewing the dBm reading
(the exact steps can vary by phone type and carrier)
- Go to Settings
- Click on About Phone
- Then tap on Network or Status
- SIM Status
- The dBm (cell signal) should be under Signal Strength
Now that you have your cell signal dBm reading, you can walk around inside or outside your building to see where the cell signal is strongest. Wherever the signal is strongest is an indication of where the nearest cell tower is located. However, to get the most accurate location of the closest cell tower we recommend using the apps or cell tower map websites above.
5. How to Improve Cell Signal Once You’ve Found a Cell Tower
If you’re experiencing poor reception and dropped calls, knowing cell phone tower locations can only help so much. Before you decide to get a new phone or change providers, stop to think about the time, cost, and inconvenience of making the switch. Especially when the location of your home or office (and not your cell service provider) is likely the cause of your problem.
You can easily increase cell signal and end dropped calls by purchasing a signal booster. With a cell phone signal booster, you can see an immediate increase in bars with cellular and data signals up to 32x stronger on your mobile device. It can also help to boost your hotspot speeds if you choose to connect to hotspots.
Plus, investing in a cell phone booster can cost far less than the expense of switching service providers, updating your phone, or changing where you live/work.
If you’re tired of poor reception and want to put a stop to dropped calls at home, at work, or on the go, check out our full line of weBoost cell signal boosters that will boost signal for any cell carrier.
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