Where are the cell towers near me?
Cell phone signal boosters make the most of signals from every carrier, but how do you know what’s making your signal weak to begin with? Carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular love to showcase their colorful maps of “nationwide coverage”, but how do you pinpoint the signal in your precise location?
Finding your nearest cell phone tower is not as difficult as you might think. Cell phone tower maps can be accessed in a myriad of ways, and SignalBoosters.com has the scoop on Verizon tower locations, AT&T tower locations, T-Mobile tower locations, Sprint tower locations, and more.
Websites, apps, signal meters, and a little elbow grease can help you find a cell tower near you. We’ve tested all the options ourselves, and we’re ready to pass our wisdom on to you.
1. Websites: How to Find Cell Phone Towers Near Me
Plenty of websites offer interactive cell tower maps to pinpoint the nearest cell phone tower to your current location. These are a few of our favorites.
PS: cell phone service providers update their information on a daily basis and don't provide official cell tower maps, so results may vary.
Our favorite website for locating towers in your area, Cellmapper provides the most reliable, up-to-date information for wherever you find yourself. It’s functional — but not terribly user-friendly — design does require a little experimentation to navigate, but once you orient yourself, it does provide reliable cell site locations for all major carriers.
Extra Credit: For AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint subscribers, type in ‘310’ before selecting your provider. Verizon subscribers can type ‘311’. Coupled with your zip code or address, this method should reveal the towers in your area immediately.
OpenSignal.com: Second Favorite
In truth, it doesn't actually show you the precise site of your nearest cell tower, but OpenSignal does have up-to-date coverage heatmaps for carriers in your vicinity. This site gives you more of a general idea of the strength of coverage in nearby areas.
AntennaSearch.com: Third Favorite
AntennaSearch isn’t the prettiest or the easiest to navigate, but it is chock full of useful information. With a little patience and a lot of exploration, you can gain some strong insights into your local cell tower location, as well as lots of valuable information for the more technically-inclined.
CellReception: Fourth Favorite
CellReception includes towers and current user reviews in your area, but their data on cell towers is lacking. Some data is still better than no data, and this site works relatively well when supplemented by other methods for finding your nearest cell tower.
2. How to Find Your Cell Carrier’s Nearest Tower
Nationwide carriers don’t always guarantee nationwide coverage. Each service provider falls victim to certain pockets of weakness in the US, so it’s best to do a little research for yourself. Using your address and zip code, it’s relatively easy to sniff out the strongest service provider in your area.
- Search for domestic or international coverage
- Zoom in to sixteen times magnification
- Filter map data by voice, data, or prepaid coverage
- Search locations by address, postal code, country, or landmark
- Search locations by address, city, or postal code
- Includes an interactive map
- Zoom in to six times magnification
- Shows region and route data for up to five addresses
- Zoom in to eleven times magnification
- Search locations by address
- Filter map data by voice or data coverage
- Zoom in to twelve times magnification
- Search locations by address
According to your findings, you may or may not find your location “covered”. While this information is helpful, it doesn’t actually indicate the location of your nearest cell tower. Because these maps are designed as marketing tools, their areas of coverage don’t measure the strength of that coverage. So even if you find yourself under a colorful blob of “coverage”, you may still notice dropped calls, slow download speeds, and a weak signal overall. A cell tower locator is still the most reliable means to finding the strongest signal.
3. Smartphone Apps to Find Your Nearest Cell Tower Location
Like the websites we’ve tried, there are also a plethora of apps designed to locate your nearest cell phone tower. Using your location, these apps are able to map out the closest cell phone tower — though their accuracy is hard to verify. It is, however, helpful to get a general idea of how strong your phone’s service is, according to your phone. We’ve listed a few of our favorites to help find cell phone tower locations and coverage quality:
OpenSignal (Recommended): For iPhone and Android
Currently the best option for most (see Update) iPhone users, this app features a compass that points you in the direction of your carrier’s nearest cell phone tower, as well as a map.
UPDATE: We've received reports that OpenSignal on the latest iPhones no longer points toward your cell tower, so, sadly, there are even fewer options for iPhone users than before.
Network Cell Info Lite (Highly Recommended): Android Only
While Network Cell Info Lite is a better application overall, it only works for Android. It shows your nearest cell tower AND its ID number, giving you a more accurate reading for dB and dBm, so you can better understand your signal strength. Like our professional installers, you can use dBm as a direct measurement of signal strength, which is far more reliable than the bars on your phone.
LTE Discovery (Recommended): Android Only
LTE Discovery is a powerful, in-depth tool that’s user-friendly enough to show the best cell service in your area — and it’s used most often by industry professionals.
RootMetrics' Cell Phone Coverage Map: For iPhone and Android
RootMetrics is a strong indicator of signal quality in your area, though it does not have a cell phone tower map. You may not be able to find your nearest cell tower, you can explore a local heatmap that’s crowdsourced for real-world signal strength.
While none of these apps can boost our signal, they can be helpful for locating the general vicinity of your nearest tower and getting an idea of the signal strength in your area.
4. Find Your Cell Tower Location Using Your Smartphone’s Antenna
How about some good old-fashioned reverse-engineering to find your phone’s nearest tower?
All cellular devices operate over radio waves, which are measured in dBm (decibel-milliwatts). The standard frequency falls between: -50 dBm to -120 dBm, with -50 dBm being the strongest, and -120 dBm the weakest (total dead zone).
The bars you see on your phone are an attempt at conveying this strength, though it’s up to your carrier to define the actual correlation. Meaning, dBm signal strength and the number of bars is somewhat arbitrary. Sprint’s 1 bar could be equivalent to Verizon’s 3 bars, even when the dBm is identical.
Bars may be subjective, but dBm readings are not. The closer you are to -50 dB, the better your signal. The closer you are to -120 dB, say goodbye to your signal. Fortunately, your smartphone can display these dBm readings for you.
How to Access Your dBm Signal (Field Test Mode):
For iPhone Users
Please note: Apple has hidden dBm readings in iPhone field test mode since releasing iOS 11 and 12, but, depending on your iPhone chipset (Intel or Qualcomm) and your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint), there is a potential workaround.
AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone with Intel chipset (iOS 11 & 12):
- Dial *3001#12345#*
- Choose LTE
- Choose Serving Cell Means
- Your dBm can be read as rsrp0
Verizon or Sprint iPhone with Qualcomm chipset (iOS 11 & 12):
- Dial *3001#12345#*
- Choose 1xEV-DO
- Your dBm can be read as RX AGC0
For any iPhone pre-iOS 11:
- Dial *3001#12345#*
- Swipe down the notifications bar
- Your dBm can be found in the upper left-hand corner of the screen
Incompatible carriers and chipsets won’t be able to access these options, but the second-best option is a speed test performed around your home.
For Android Users
Field test mode on Android varies by model and operating system, but is usually found under the Settings menu.
- Select Settings
- Select About Phone
- Select Status or Network
- Select SIM Status
- Your dBm can be found under Signal strength
Once you’ve found your dBm reading, explore the perimeter of your home and take note of the areas with the strongest dBm reading. This will indicate the general direction of your cell phone tower and where you can find the best reception.
5. Update your Phone to Find New TowersYour phone will generally connect to the nearest tower, but with the construction of new towers and various adjustments, it’s possible you can do better. Tower updates vary by carrier and device, but the process itself is simple.
AT&T Tower Update
Options for iPhone:
1. Turn the Network Off and Back On (fastest & easiest)
Toggle the "Airplane" icon off and back on to reconnect to the network. Easy!
2. Download iPhone Carrier Update
- Connect to your Wi-Fi network (or the AT&T network), then swipe up on the screen to show the iPhone Control Center. Tap the “Wi-Fi” icon to turn it on.
- Tap the “Settings” icon on your home screen, then select the “General” option
- Tap “About” and then “Install” to install a carrier update (if an AT&T carrier update is available)
3. Restart iPhone
When all else fails: Turn it off. Turn it back on. Voila!
Options for Android:
1. Turn the Network Off and Back On (fastest & easiest)
Swipe down from the top of the screen to the Quick Settings menu. Tap “Airplane” to turn it on. Wait 10 seconds, then tap “Airplane” again to turn it off.
2. Update Android Device
You can update your carrier settings by updating to the newest version of the Android OS available for your device.
- Tap the “Settings” icon, then select “About device”.
- Select “Software Update”, then wait for your phone to search for an update.
- Tap “Install Now” to install the update on your Android device. Once the update has been downloaded and installed, your Android will be using the newest carrier settings and the newest AT&T towers.
3. Restart Android Device
For this and all electronic devices: Turn it off. Turn it back on. *Chef's kiss*
Verizon Tower Update
Updating to the latest Verizon cell towers is a snap and can be done in several ways.
Restarting your device usually causes the location memory of your phone to reset, causing it to reach out to the nearest towers. If there’s a tower that’s popped up recently, your phone will find it.
Alternatively, you can simply dial “*288” and select “2” when prompted. This will cause your phone to update to local Verizon towers, which can take up to two minutes.
A final method is to dial “*22899” and press “Send.” A musical ringtone will play, and a recorded voice will instruct you to hold while your phone is being programmed. A few seconds later, you should hear a few beeps, and “Programming Successful” will appear on your display. Your Verizon cell towers are now updated.
T-Mobile Tower Update
To update your T-Mobile towers, you can try the AT&T method above, or this alternative restart method:
- Power off your device
- Remove the SIM card
- Wait a minute
- Re-insert the SIM card and power your phone back on
- Your phone should automatically perform a T-Mobile tower update
Sprint Tower Update
Updating your Sprint cell towers requires a PRL (preferred roaming list) update to your device.
- Select “Device Management”
- Choose “Update the PRL (Preferred Roaming List) on your device”
- Follow the instructions
US Cellular Tower Update
The good old-fashioned restart method (above) is best for US Cellular customers looking to update their cell tower. Either go into Airplane mode on your phone (described above), or power off, remove your SIM card, wait a minute, replace it, and power the device back on.
6. Use a Signal Meter to Find Your Cell Tower Location
While Field Test Mode (using dB) is a great way for most of us to find our strongest signal, a signal meter is by far the most accurate method, used by installers, contractors, and overachievers.
The signal meter is a handheld device that pinpoints all 4G and 3G frequencies and bands, displays signal strength in dBm, and gives accurate cell tower direction within a 45 to 90-degree radius. It is a worthwhile investment for professional telecom users.
7. Finding Your 5G Cell Tower
5G cell towers are not like the 4G, LTE, and 3G cell towers we know and love.
For those living in 5G areas, you’ll know it. These cell towers are everywhere, with far more density than a 4G tower requires. In fact, they’re so small that they can be placed on lighting fixtures, the tops of buildings… even underground.
Most major carriers have yet to fully implement 5G in even the most populated urban areas, making 5G coverage maps the thing of science fiction. But stay tuned...
So How Do Cell Towers Work?
A cell phone tower (or cell site/Base Transceiver Station) is a structure that emits cellular signal as a “cell” in a network. This is accomplished through a labyrinth of transceivers, digital signal processors, control electronics, primary and backup electrical power, and GPS receivers. Basically, they’re transmitters of radio signals.
From there, each tower is different. Even if you’re staring up at a cell tower right this very moment, it might not contain the transceivers that utilize frequencies for your carrier, or maybe those transceivers are pointed away from your location.
Generally, cell towers use power to generate radio waves at a certain frequency. Your cell phone is tuned in to a specific frequency range (or band) depending on your carrier and the features you’re trying to use.
Cell Phone Signal Boosters Help Your Weak Signal
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