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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 is 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.[citation needed]

A valid CID ranges from 0 to 65535 (216 − 1) on GSM and CDMA networks and from 0 to 268,435,455 (228 − 1) on UMTS and LTE networks.[1]

Cell ID databases and services[edit]

A number of commercial and public Cell ID databases and services are available:

Name Unique cells Countries (MCC) Operators (MNC) Measurements Free database download Active project Data license Comment
Cell Spotting 0.1 million[2] 667 no CC0
Combain Mobile >140 million[3] >240 >1700 >131 billion no yes Supports GSM, CDMA, UMTS, LTE and NR via API.[4] 157.89 million[5] 240 1712 25 billion no yes Supports WiFi, GSM, CDMA, UMTS and LTE technologies via its API.
Unwired Labs LocationAPI Global Coverage Map
Mozilla Location Service 28.2 million[7] 240[8] 2.7 billion[7] yes[9] yes[7] CC0[9] Based on crowd-sourced data. Also WiFi database. Cooperating with OpenCelliD[9] and Combain.[10]
Mylnikov GEO[11] >34 million 505 3500 yes no[12] Contains data from, OpenCellID and MLS.
Navizon[13] 71 million 239 1712 22 billion no yes Based on crowd-sourced data. Also WiFi database.[14] 0.2 million 77 174 10 million limited; private use only no [15] 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
OpenCellID by Unwired Labs[16] 38.9 million 222 753 2.1 billion yes yes CC-BY-SA 3.0
OpenCellID database growth monthly
Based on crowd-sourced data; free API key required for database download; Service is now maintained by Unwired Labs.[17]
OpenSignal[18] 0.8 million 825 5.2 billion no yes[19] 0.7 million 94 243 yes yes CC-BY-SA 3.0 Based on crowd-sourced data.
WiGLE[20] 6.2 million no yes
CellMapper no yes
G-NetWold by Gyokov Solutions
Skyhook Wireless
Google Location Services[21]
Apple Location Services[22]
Microsoft Location Services[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cell Networks". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  2. ^ "CellSpotting Stats". Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  3. ^ "Combain Mobile". Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  4. ^ "Combain Location API". Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  5. ^ "Unwired Labs LocationAPI". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  6. ^ "Unwired Labs Coverage Map". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  7. ^ a b c "Statistics - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  8. ^ "Per Country Cell Statistics - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  9. ^ a b c "Cell Download - Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  10. ^ "Combain Deal Helps Expand Mozilla Location Service". Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  11. ^ "Stats Mylnikov GEO Cells". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  12. ^ "Mylnikov Download page". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  13. ^ "Navizon Global Positioning System". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  14. ^ "Navizon Cellular Coverage Map". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  15. ^ "Board NetMeterProject". Retrieved 2016-03-29.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ " Realtime Statistics". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  17. ^ "OpenCellID wiki". Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  18. ^ "Stats OpenSignalMap". Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2014-09-06.
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  20. ^ "Stats WiGLE". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  21. ^ "Google Location Service in Mozilla Firefox Privacy Policy". Google Inc. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  22. ^ "About Location Services and Privacy". Apple Inc. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  23. ^ "Windows Runtime APIs - Windows.Devices.Geolocation namespace". Microsoft Corp. Retrieved 2016-09-30.

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
  • CellMapper - cellular coverage and tower map
  • 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