How to locate the closest 3G tower

Written by stephanie sigafoos
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How to locate the closest 3G tower
Locating a cell phone tower is not an easy process (cell phone tower image by Aaron Kohr from

Thanks to an ever-expanding telecommunications market, the strength of coverage and the overall usefulness of a mobile device or smart phone is measured by the number of towers in a particular area. Customers who frequently experience dropped calls and connection errors on the 3G, or 3rd Generation system, may be lacking sufficient coverage in their neighbourhood, city or surrounding coverage area. Customers can use several methods to locate a 3G cell tower, though the process can be challenging.

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  1. 1

    Call your cell phone provider and ask for the information. If one representative is reluctant or unwilling to give out this information, ask to speak to a supervisor or manager, or simply call back later. Most providers do not typically give out the location of cell phone towers due to security concerns, but working your way up the chain of command may yield the result you are looking for.

  2. 2

    Use the Antenna Search or Cell Reception websites to bring up a map of towers in your area. These sites allow the user to enter an address, which narrows down the number of towers and antennas in a particular area. These tools can be useful, but only a few of the towers are actually registered to a particular provider.

  3. 3

    Review feedback left on the Cell Reception website to determine what kind of coverage other customers are getting in your neighbourhood. The site breaks down tower location by the top five carriers in the United States--AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Nextel and T-Mobile. Users can filter comments based on their carrier, with external links to coverage maps also available.

  4. 4

    Contact your township or city zoning board to discuss the location of towers. Many have an ordinance in place that puts restrictions on where telecommunications companies can place cell towers. The zoning board should also know of and have on record any permits to work on or replace an existing tower or antenna.

  5. 5

    Walk your coverage area. It may sound like a chore, but a good pair of sneakers, a notepad and pen may yield the information you're after when it comes to 3G service. Once you have located a map on known locations of towers, visit the ones nearest to your home, office or wherever your cell phone gets the most use. The stronger or weaker signals at each location will tell you which towers are providing your mobile device with 3G coverage.

Tips and warnings

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not require that every tower or antenna be registered. Additionally, towers may be registered to third party companies, with leasing agreements unknown.
  • If you find that you live or work in a poor coverage area, contact your phone company about purchasing a signal booster or femtocell. AT&T;'s "Microcell" is a widely used and popular product and supports 3G data service.

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