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 first or 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 (12 bits, ID of the Radio Network Controller) and Cell ID (16 bits, 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 >68,000,000 240 >1700 >16,000 million no yes Supports GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE and Wi-Fi (>800 million Wi-Fis) via API.
Combain Mobile Global CellID Coverage Map
LocationAPI.org by Unwired Labs >64,140,000 240 1712 21 300 million no yes Supports WiFi, GSM, CDMA, UMTS and LTE technologies via its API.
Unwired Labs LocationAPI Global Coverage Map
Mozilla Location Service 19,979,426[6] 218[7] 2392.93 million[6] yes[8] yes[6] Based on crowd-sourced data. Also WiFi database. Cooperating with OpenCellID[8] and Combain.[9]
Mylnikov GEO[10] 14,393,929 505 3500 yes yes
Navizon[11] 71 million 239 1712 21,517 million no yes Based on crowd-sourced data. Also WiFi database. [12]
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 [13] 695,294 194 633 yes yes
Opencelldb.net 34,499 no
OpenCellID [14] 7,958,311 242 1914 1 425 million yes yes
OpenCellID database growth monthly
Based on crowd-sourced data; free API key required for database download;
OpenSignal[15] 824,297 825 5 186 million no yes
WiGLE [16] 3,824,894 no

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7240038/utran-cell-identity-returned-by-getcid
  2. ^ "3GPP TS" (PDF). www.etsi.org. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Cell Networks". Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Combain Mobile Coverage Maps". Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
  5. ^ "Unwired Labs Coverage Map". Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  6. ^ a b c "Statistics - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2016-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Per Country Cell Statistics - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Cell Download - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-01-30. 
  9. ^ "Combain Deal Helps Expand Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-04-09. 
  10. ^ "Stats Mylnikov GEO Cells". Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  11. ^ "Navizon Global Positioning System". Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  12. ^ "Navizon Cellular Coverage Map". Retrieved 2015-06-21. 
  13. ^ "openBmap". Retrieved 2014-02-22. 
  14. ^ "opencellid.org Realtime Statistics". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  15. ^ "Stats OpenSignalMap". Retrieved 2014-09-06. 
  16. ^ "Stats WiGLE". Retrieved 2014-10-16. 

External links[edit]

  • Combain Positioning Service - cloud service with API to locate wireless devices based on Cell-ID and Wi-Fi
  • LocationAPI by Unwired Labs - Location as an API service to locate devices with WiFi, Cell towers & IP
  • 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.
  • Navizon - cloud service with API to locate wireless devices using a global database of WiFi access points and Cell-ID locations
  • 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
  • Mylnikov GEO - an open source API project. It lets get coordinates of mobile towers with no limits and absolutely free. (Russian)
  • Base Station Numbering Schemes - Discussion of cellular repeater numerology