Cell ID

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A GSM Cell ID (CID) is a generally unique number used to identify each Base transceiver station (BTS) or sector of a BTS within a Location area code (LAC) if not within a GSM network.

In some cases the last digit of CID represents cells' Sector ID

  • value 0 is used for omnidirectional antenna.
  • values 1,2,3 are used to identify sectors of trisector or bisector antennas.

In UMTS, there's a distinction between Cell ID (CID) and UTRAN Cell ID (also called LCID). The UTRAN Cell ID (LCID) is a concatenation of the RNC-ID (2 bytes, ID of the Radio Network Controller) and Cell ID (4 bytes, unique ID of the Cell). CID is just the Cell ID. The concatenation of both will still be unique but can be confusing in some cellid databases as some store the CID and other store LCID. It makes sense to record them separately as the RNC ID is the same for many cells, the unique element is the CID. [1] [2]

A valid CID ranges from 0 to 65535 (216-1) on GSM and CDMA networks and from 0 to 268435455 (228-1) on UMTS and LTE networks. [3]

Public Cell ID databases[edit]

A number of public Cell ID databases are available:

Name Unique Cells Countries (MCC) Operators (MNC) Measurements Free database download Active project Comment
Celldb.org 138,582 221 640 2 million password protected
Cellspotting.com 118,266 648 last database extract 23.9.2008
Combain Mobile - Location-API.com >52,216,378 240 1700+ >6,242 million no yes Supports GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE and wifi (447+ million).
Combain Mobile Global CellID Coverage Map
Mozilla Location Service 5,760,448[5] 218[6] 634.83 million[5] yes[7] yes[5] Based on crowd-sourced data. Also WiFi database. Cooperating with OpenCellID.[7]
NetMeterProject.com 184,925 77 174 10 million limited; private use only only a small portion of the database can be downloaded and for private use only: the measurements where the crowd users accepted the "Creative Commons Namensnennung-Nicht-kommerziell-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland" license
Openbmap.org [8] 695,294 194 633 yes yes
Opencelldb.net 34,499 no
OpenCellID [9] 6,437,596 242 1914 1 090 million yes yes
OpenCellID database growth monthly
Based on crowd-sourced data; free API key required for database download; the Api key can be registered here:
OpenSignal[10] 824,297 825 5 186 million no yes
Unwired Labs' LocationAPI 52,010,000 226 1613 11 200 million no yes Supports GSM, CDMA, UMTS and LTE technologies via its API.
Unwired Labs LocationAPI Global Coverage Map
WiGLE [12] 3,824,894 no

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7240038/utran-cell-identity-returned-by-getcid
  2. ^ http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_ts/125400_125499/125401/04.02.00_60/ts_125401v040200p.pdf#page=15
  3. ^ https://mozilla-ichnaea.readthedocs.org/en/latest/cell.html
  4. ^ "Combain Mobile Coverage Maps". 
  5. ^ a b c "Stats Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Cell Statistics - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Cell Download Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-01-30. 
  8. ^ "openBmap". Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  9. ^ "opencellid.org Realtime Statistics". Retrieved 2014-10-01. 
  10. ^ "Stats OpenSignalMap". Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  11. ^ "Unwired Labs Coverage Map". Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  12. ^ "Stats WiGLE". Retrieved 2014-10-16. 

External links[edit]

  • Mozilla Location Service - an open service which lets devices determine their location based on network infrastructure like WiFi access points and cell towers
  • OpenCellID - an open source project, aiming to create a complete database of Cell IDs worldwide, with their locations
  • cellidfinder - Find the coordinates of any known CellID.
  • openBmap - a free and open map of wireless communicating objects (e.g. cellular antenna, Wi-Fi access points...)
  • minigps - some information on Cell IDs in china