5G is the latest jump in mobile technology, and 5G towers are currently being installed across the country in anticipation of its nationwide rollout. As a result of health concerns, I’ve had a few people ask how to locate 5G towers near me, so I’ve put together this article to cover your options.
Currently, there are 3 main ways to find 5G towers near you:
- Ookla 5G interactive map and towers locator
- Verizon 5G coverage map
- T-Mobile 5G coverage map
I’ll explain each of these in detail below, including step-by-step walkthroughs of how to check the information. Although the Ookla map should generally provide you with the necessary information, it can be worth checking on several maps to make sure you’re fully covered.
Before we cover these in more depth, let’s first take a look at what 5G is and what are the related health concerns.
Should I be concerned about 5G?
As you may have already guessed, 5G is the latest development in cellular technology. It’s considered to be the mobile equivalent of ultra-fast broadband and has much better download speeds than the current 4G.
To reach these speeds it uses high-frequency radio waves, which are much higher than 4G waves, but as a result travel shorter distances. By extension, this means there needs to be a greater number of cell towers in order to provide the best coverage.
So what are the related health concerns? In short, concerns over 5G are the same as they’ve always been: overexposure to EMF radiation, which can lead to a number of health complications.
However, the issue with 5G is mainly that there will be more towers, which means more chance of exposure to EMF radiation. There has been plenty of research into the effects of EMF radiation exposure, and the issue will only get worse with 5G.
That said, the other major concern is the lack of specific research into 5G technology. As it’s such a new concept, there’s been little research into the long-term health impacts, but companies are still moving ahead with their nationwide rollouts.
Read my article on 5G radiation risks.
How to find 5G towers near you
As mentioned, there are 3 ways to find 5G towers near you. However, none of them are necessarily straightforward, and none of the go-to cellphone tower monitoring sites currently track 5G towers.
Instead, you’ll have to spend a bit of time playing about on these various sites. In order to make this process a bit easier for you, I’ve gone through the steps in detail below, providing screenshots of the websites so you’ll know exactly what to look for.
1. Ookla 5G Interactive Map and Towers Locator
The first step in your 5G tower hunt should be the Ookla rollout map. I’d recommend starting with this one because it’ll tell you whether or not there are 5G towers near you in your area, and if there is, you can use one of the other maps for a more detailed look.
Ookla is a fairly good map that offers information for the whole planet. It’s updated every week, so be sure to check back on it another time if there’s currently no information for your area.
After loading the webpage, you’ll be greeted with a page that looks like this:
As you can see, it displays dots with a numerical value inside. These state the number of towers in a particular area, and zooming in on the map will show you more detailed distribution.
Before searching the map for 5G towers near you in your area, however, it’s worth paying attention to the key in the top right corner, which looks like this:
The map has 3 filters: commercial availability, limited availability, and pre-release. Commercial refers to towers that are open to the public, meaning your 5G enabled device can connect to them.
Limited availability is 5G towers that are in place but not registered on commercial networks, although this doesn’t mean they’re not in use. Finally, pre-release refers to towers that are being built or are in the final stages of rollout to the general market.
When searching for 5G towers in your area, it makes sense to have all 3 filters enabled, as you’re interested in the number of towers that exist. After all, pre-release towers will become commercially available at some point, and it won’t be long until they’re live.
As you begin to zoom in on a specific area, you’ll notice the circles move around and separate. This is simply showing you a more detailed distribution of the towers in a more localized area. Here are some screenshots to show you what I mean:
And after further zooming into your area, the map will look like this:
As you can see, the color of the dots corresponds to the key. So, for example, in southern Georgia, there’s 1 tower with limited availability and a grouping of 22 towers with commercial availability slightly further north.
Zoom in some more, and then click on one of the circles. Doing so will open up a text box that displays the network the tower works on, along with its availability. While it’s not necessarily relevant to know the network, it is still useful information.
That’s basically all there is to using this 5G coverage map. However, the major downside of Ookla is that it shows you coverage, but doesn’t necessarily give you all the information you need about 5G cell towers.
For example, it doesn’t differentiate between the low band and the high band. Cell phone towers as we know them are low band, which means they travel greater distances, but possibly the more worrying aspect is the high band.
High band, also known as millimeter waves, are the short-distance towers that’ll be installed in urban areas to improve coverage. These are installed to compensate for the fact that 5G signals have difficulty passing through buildings.
Luckily, using the Ookla map in combination with one of the other methods suggested below should give you all the information you need.
Getting information on 5G in your neighborhood
After using the Ookla map to determine whether there are 5G towers near you in your area, you’ll next need to find out where the towers are located. To do this, you’ll need to switch over to a network-specific map, which is another reason why the Ookla map comes in handy.
The only issue with this, though, is that not all networks have detailed maps of their coverage. For example, AT&T currently has no information, although their coverage can be found on Cellular Maps. However, this information isn’t particularly relevant because it doesn’t tell you about the towers.
For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll focus on the millimeter waves of 5G coverage. The low band towers function just like 4G towers and emit the same kind of radiation. While this isn’t necessarily safe, it’s less of a concern than the high band waves.
Below are methods to use the maps on the Verizon and T-Mobile websites. Verizon is already using high band towers, whereas T-Mobile still uses low band cellphone towers. As a result, we’ll get to see how to locate both.
2. Verizon 5G Coverage Map
After opening the Verizon coverage map, you’ll be given a list of cities in which 5G coverage is installed. If you don’t see your city on the list, it means Verizon doesn’t have any 5G towers near you in your area. Return to the Ookla map to confirm you’re looking at the correct network.
The list looks like this:
Let’s use Atlanta as our example seeing as we looked at Georgia on the first map. Click on the city to be presented with a map that shows areas covered by 5G.
The key in the bottom left corner details what each color means. The red dots indicate a high band 5G tower near a city landmark, and areas in white partly receive 5G coverage.
However, it’s worth noting that the Verizon map only shows commercially available towers, so there might be some discrepancies between the information found here and the information displayed on the Ookla map.
Clicking on an area of the map will give you a more in-depth look at the coverage. Clicking on the Downtown area will show us a road map, along with 5G coverage:
Again, the key is helpful here because it allows us to differentiate between the types of cellular coverage. On this map, pink areas are 4G coverage, which should realistically be everywhere, and the red areas show specifically 5G coverage.
However, it’s important to remember that this map intends to show coverage, and as a result, doesn’t specifically tell you where the tower is located. This means that to find it you’ll actually need to go out hunting in person.
You’ll be looking for a small antenna on street furniture such as telephone poles, streetlights, and traffic signals. This might prove difficult though, as many of the masts are designed to blend in with their surroundings.
Also, the exact location of the mast is only relevant to a certain extent. If you use this map to confirm that there’s 5G coverage over your house, then you have all the information you actually need.
As high band 5G signals don’t travel very far, you can assume that in areas of wide coverage there might be several masts. But again, the important information is whether your house is covered. If it is, it might be worth investing in some 5G protection measures.
3. T-Mobile 5G Coverage Map
Another option to try instead of the Verizon map is the T-Mobile map. This realistically does the same job but with a different network, so it can be worth checking both depending on what the Ookla map tells you.
When you load the website, you’ll be presented with a map not dissimilar to the Ookla one:
However, a major advantage of this map over the others is that you can begin by putting in more detailed information about your location, such as your city, state, or ZIP code. This at least means you don’t need to manually search for your location.
Again, much like the Verizon map, this one only shows commercially available 5G coverage in your area. Monitor it regularly to see if this changes.
We’ll stick with Atlanta again just for a comparison on the same area. So by putting in the city name you’ll be zoomed in to the location.
This map features a key very similar to the one used on the Verizon website: purple shows 4G coverage and pink shows 5G coverage. As you can see, the T-Mobile network is already fairly extensive in the area.
You can zoom in and out as you like, although this map doesn’t offer anywhere near as detailed a view as the Verizon one. In fact, this is as close as you can go to a street view:
Other than telling you that Atlanta is almost entirely covered by 5G networks, this map doesn’t give you loads of relevant information. Again, for more depth, you’ll have to go out and physically look for 5G towers near you.
Monitoring 5G rollout in the future
While some networks already have extensive coverage across the country, all mobile network operates plan to have some level of coverage by the end of the year. In short, this means the network of cell towers will increase.
Of course, cities and urban areas will be targeted more quickly than rural areas, but even they’re expected to have some level of coverage. However, people in rural areas can rest a bit easier, as they’ll generally only receive low band coverage.
Either way, this means it’s worth monitoring these maps in the future to check for any changes. Perhaps the best one for this is the Ookla map, as it tells you how many towers are in the area.
Similarly, it’s worth keeping an eye on this map to check when pre-release towers become available. This basically translates to them being “switched on”, which will obviously increase your exposure to 5G signals.
Ookla is updated every week, but there doesn’t appear to be any specific information about how often the others are updated. However, if you notice any relevant changes to the Ookla map, check the network-specific maps for more information.
How can you use this to reduce your 5G exposure?
On their own, these maps don’t necessarily work as a strategy for reducing your exposure to 5G radiation. However, locating your local 5G cellphone towers is a good first step in your strategy, as it at least lets you know what kinds of radiation to protect against.
As mentioned previously, your main concern is with the short-range, high band antenna that are popping up in cities. The flip side of this means that if you’re living in a rural area then you don’t need to really do any more than you’re already doing.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the reason service providers need to install so many high band antennas is that the radio waves can only travel very short distances, as they don’t penetrate very far into buildings.
Like all forms of EMF radiation, of which radio waves are only one kind, 5G signals get weaker with distance. This means that unless you’re within about 20 feet of a 5G cellphone tower, then your risks are significantly lower.
However, this is where the potential dangers lie: it’s for all these reasons that they’re needing to install so many 5G cellphone towers. To provide the best coverage, they’ll need to install a fairly extensive network of high band antennas.
Check out my article on ways to protect yourself from 5G radiation.
How close are they to completing the network?
As you can see from the Ookla map, there’s already good coverage in a number of large cities. Similarly, many major network providers plan to have extensive coverage by the end of 2020, although this will depend on a number of factors.
Conversely, as networks increase, so will information on tower locations. Therefore, one of the wisest things to do is to continue checking these websites regularly to see whether there are any more 5G towers installed in your area.
It’s fair to say that within the next 2 years the vast majority of the USA will have 5G network coverage, particularly as companies are already releasing devices with 5G capability.
However, this also means that you should have enough time to develop a good strategy for reducing 5G signal exposure in your home. If you start looking at ways to reduce your exposure before the network in your area is too extensive then you’ll already be ahead of the game.
Some final thoughts
5G rollout has been on the rise in recent months as many companies push to provide the best nationwide coverage. While some are miles ahead of others, this arguably isn’t our biggest concern.
Regardless of the network provider, greater 5G coverage means more 5G towers. The ones to look out for are the high band towers, which are more prevalent in urban areas because of their function.
Realistically though, the only information that matters is whether your house is covered by 5G. If it is, or soon will be, then it can be worth taking some steps to reduce your exposure to this new kind of phone signal.