I just finished writing an entire article about 5G cell towers, including what they are, how they work, and if they are dangerous. After I published that article and people started reading it, I had dozens of people asking follow up questions about how they can track where 5G towers are near them.
So, instead of making that post longer (it’s already over 5000 words) I decided to make a separate guide to help you find out whether there are 5G towers in your home town, and how near they are to where you’re sitting.
I’m calling this an evolving guide to locating 5G cell towers for a few reasons:
- Tools outlining where 5G is being implemented are scarce, and more ones are likely to be introduced in the future.
- This is something that needs to be current, so I’m going to update it whenever a new or better way to track the specific locations of 5G towers come out.
As an example of this, I have a great guide on how to locate current (non-5G) cell towers. In fact, there is a tool called Antennasearch that will show you on a map, all the towers near your address. However, this tool does not show 5G small cell towers, and likely won’t for quite a while. If it ever does, I’ll be sure to update this guide to include it.
For now, we’re going to walk through the tools and resources we have available in late 2019 to find the 5G towers near you.
The first thing we need to do is finding out if 5G is even in your city.
Do I Have 5G In My City?
There are a few tools for this, but I want to start by talking about, in my opinion, the best one by far. It’s a tool called The 5G Map by the company Ookla.
You can find it at the following website: https://www.speedtest.net/ookla-5g-map
The first screen you’ll land on will look like this:
Now, this is a fantastic tool, but I want to explain a few things so that you’ll get the most out of it.
First of all, the different “deployment types” that you see in the Key on the right.
- Commercial Availability – This means that 5G is currently available, to any consumers of a certain carrier. This is it, this means that 5G is actually live in this area. We’ll talk about this more in a second.
- Limited Availability – This means that 5G is available, but not to everyone. This often means that it is specific to an industry, a sector, or for testing by a specific carrier.
- Pre-Release – This means that the actual 5G cell towers are installed and setup, but it is either being tested in this area, or not yet commercially available.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about how to use this tool, and then we’ll talk about the next steps to use to know if 5G is actually in your area.
First, you can use the “5G News & Updates” to see the latest information about the commercial release of 5G. For instance, at the time of writing this article, Ookla mentions that 5G is now commercially available in areas of Washington, DC, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Atlanta.
I check this ticker every few days and am absolutely amazed at how fast 5G is rolling out. In previous articles talking about 5G, I’ve mentioned that it is “on its way,” or “almost here.” Well, now it’s here. It might not be everywhere, but make no mistake 5G is absolutely live and commercially available in dozens of cities around the world, and that will soon be hundreds of cities.
In fact, at the time of writing this in late 2019, there are already 833 5G deployments worldwide (between commercial, limited, and pre-release) available from 63 different operators or carriers.
Alright, now let’s talk about how to actually locate if 5G is in your city.
In order to illustrate this point consistently throughout the article, I’m going to pretend I live in downtown Los Angelas, near the staples center.
How To Use the Ookla 5G Map To Find 5G Towers Near You
The first thing you need to do is to uncheck all of the “Deployment Types” that I defined above except for the “commercial availability.” The other types will show you where 5G is coming, but it won’t show you where it is live and active, and that is what we’re after int his post.
Next, find where you live on the map, and zoom in closer to your city, either using your mouse wheel or the + and – at the top left of the map. So for me, I would zoom in on Los Angeles, and see this:
Next step, click on the numbered dot (or dots) that you see to review who the carrier is for the 5G network, and what the availability is.
I got this:
There we go, now we know that Los Angeles, California, currently has commercial availability of 5G, provided by T-Mobile (A common US carrier).
As a side note, I’ll also mention that AT&T also has “limited availability” of 5G, which means that the hardware is in place, but we’re not sure to what extent it is being used yet.
Now that we know there is T-Mobile 5G Available in LA, we need to find out where that coverage actually exists.
It’s important to remember that this is not like your current 4G network, where if you have that carrier, you’re going to have coverage everywhere. If you’ve read my post on 5G cell towers, then you’ll know that 5G requires an entirely new infrastructure.
This means that if you have a phone capable of supporting 5G (you probably don’t, only the very newest phones do, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G), and you’re in a city that has 5G, you may or may not be receiving it.
So, what we need to do now is find a coverage map for Los Angelas.
I just literally googled “T-Mobile Los Angelas 5G coverage map”
Which brought me to this page on the T-Mobile website, which gives some fairly rudimentary coverage maps of the 6 cities where 5G is currently commercially available, including:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- Las Vegas
- and Atlanta
I selected the Los Angeles map, and got this:
Now, as you can see from the small legend in the top left, 5G coverage areas are highlighted in pink.
There we have it, now we know, down to the block, where 5G cell towers are located in LA. Obviously, there isn’t yet a tool showing the exact location of each tower, as they are very small, and can be found every 500 feet or so, but this would give is a clear indication of the areas that have 5G.
This will help you in 1 of 2 ways, but probably not both:
- If you’re excited about 5G, then it will show you where you can get coverage on your new 5G enabled phone.
- If you’re worried about 5G, like me, it will show you the areas to try to avoid.
Now, for this exercise I said to pretend that I live near the Staples Center, as you can see from the map, most of the areas around the Staples Center do have 5G coverage.
Unfortunately, not every carrier has as helpful of a 5G coverage map as T-mobile does.
Here is what is currently available from a few other large cellular carriers:
AT&T 5G Coverage
AT&T does have commercial or limited 5G coverage available in 21 US cities across 12 states. Unfortunately, they don’t have individual coverage maps for each city to show you the areas and neighborhoods where coverage is available.
Instead, they just have a map listing the cities and a list of those same cities.
I found that map at their main 5G consumer webpage that just talks about what 5G is, why it’s great, and where it’s currently available.
In my opinion, AT&T currently provides the least information about where 5G coverage is actually available and certainly doesn’t provide any indication of where their 5G cell towers are located.
Sprint 5G Coverage (Locating 5G Cell Tower Areas In Your City)
Sprint actually has probably the best resource available to locate their 5G coverage and 5G cell towers, down to the very neighborhood. Also, unlike T-Mobile that we used in the example, Sprint actually has an interactive map that you can use to locate 5G.
It’s a little confusing when you first land on it, so I’ll give you a little bit of help.
You can find Sprints 5G coverage map here.
When you first land on the map, you’ll just see a big yellow/orange map of the United States, this is just showing the 4G LTE coverage, and not really telling you anything else.
Near the top left, you’ll see the word “Legend.” If you click that, you’ll get a more helpful drop down that looks like this:
Now, that dropdown will show you the colors for the different types of network coverage in different areas.
Honestly, I really wish they had used another color for 5G, because it’s really hard to distinguish between the 5G, 4G LTE, and the Extended 4G LTE areas.
So, now go ahead and zoom in on where you live either using Command and the + button on your keyboard or by using the + in the top left.
For this example, I’m going to zoom in on Chicago, because I know that they have fairly extensive 5G commercial availability in Chicago.
Once you’ve zoomed in closer to your city, you’ll start to actually see that there is a slight difference between the 5G coverage color on the map and the 4G LTE that is just about everywhere.
Once I zoomed in on Chicago, I got this:
As you can see from the image, there is 5G availability in most of Chicago proper, from the boardwalk to a few miles inland.
Now, it isn’t perfect coverage, as there will be some supported areas and some that are not.
So, if you have a 5G enabled phone, and you were driving around downtown Chicago you would probably see that “5G” in the top left corner swap to “4G LTE” and then back again a number of times.
The nice thing about Sprints interactive coverage map is that you can zoom in even closer, and see fairly accurate coverage down to the block.
I zoomed in closer to the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and saw this:
As you can tell from that image, most of that area has 5G coverage (the deeper orange), but there are still pockets where you would only have 4G LTE (the more yellowish orange).
Now, exact 5G coverage depends on which 5G phone you have (I know, confusing) but the Sprint map lets you select your exact phone and it will alter the map to show you that.
The main point is, this map will allow you to see if you have 5G where you live, work, and spend time.
Verizon 5G Coverage
Verizon has one of the best (in my opinion) cellular coverage maps, unfortunately, they haven’t added 5G to it, so it’s useless for our purposes, but hopefully, that won’t always be the case.
Instead, we just have to rely on a list of cities that we know Verizon has rolled of 5G mobile in.
Side note: Verizon was actually the first carrier to bring 5G to the United States, but it was for home use, called the Verizon 5G Home. It wasn’t until April of 2019 that they rolled 5G out for mobile phone users.
So, if you take a look at the map below from Cellularmaps, you’ll see the green dots indicating Verizon’s 5G home coverage, and the red dots indicating their mobile coverage.
For now, though, that is about all we have showing where Verizon 5G is available. I’m sure in the near future, they will update their interactive coverage map to also show 5G, and then we’ll have much better information about where 5G cell towers are likely located in major cities.
Now that we’ve talked so thoroughly about how to find out if 5G is in your city, and where exactly it is in your city (depending on your carrier) it’s time we talk briefly about how to actually locate 5G small cell towers near you.
How To Locate 5G Cell Towers Near You
This isn’t as straight forward as it is with the current towers that support 3G and 4G LTE. With those current towers, you can basically just look at them, and know that they are cell towers.
Usually, they are quite large, quite obvious, and surrounded by a bit of chainlink fencing. If you get up close, you’ll find signs warning you about excessive radiofrequency radiation.
Sometimes they’ll be disguised as trees or something else, but if you look at them you’ll know pretty quick that they aren’t a tree.
Now, with 5G towers, you have to really be paying attention, for a few reasons:
- They don’t all look the same. Different carriers are installing different equipment.
- Since 5G small cell towers are so small, they are extremely easy to disguise or cover, so there may be one there without you really even knowing it.
- They are deliberately hiding them. Here is an article showing how Vodafone, an enormous telecom company plans to hide many of their 5G cell towers under manhole covers. You’ll also hear about how many telecom companies are hiding their towers on top of buildings, inside of trees, on lamp poles, and many other places that you wouldn’t expect.
So, we have to use a few other tools at our disposal.
The first thing we need to do is find a neighborhood that has active 5G. You can do that with the instructions above.
Next, we need to go hunting for 5G towers, equipped with an EMF meter capable of reading at least some of their frequencies. In my article about how you can protect yourself and your family from 5G radiation, I go over in detail what kind of EMF meter you need to measure 5G, so I won’t cover that here.
However, for now, since there really isn’t a better option, I’m recommending the Acoustimeter AM 10 that you can get on Amazon. It can measure frequency ranges of 200 Mhz to 8 Ghz, which covers the entire lower range of 5G, which many providers are utilizing.
So, now that we have our EMF meter, we need to track down a 5G cell tower.
I’m going to drop a few photos below so that you at least have some idea what they may look like.
As you can see, even the early 5G cell towers are quite small. Now, if you see something like this, and it’s in a neighborhood that is offering 5G service, it is almost certainly a tower. However, using your EMF meter set to radiofrequency, you can simply approach the tower and see if the readings spike.
Unlike a smart meter that sends large packets of data via RF only occasionally, you should receive a steady signal on your EMF meter when you’re close to the 5G tower.
That is about it for now as far as our ability to locate 5G towers. As more information comes out about the actual location of these towers, I’ll be sure to update this article. If you’ve found better resources, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you want to learn more about 5G, be sure to check out my other articles.