Total Cell Towers and Cell Sites by Carrier

From an American Tower Presentation to RBC:

Total number of cell sites per carrier:

Nextel: 20,000
Sprint: 25,000
Cingular: 44,000 (Other estimates show 50,000)
Verizon: 22,000
TMobile: 24,000
Alltel: 8,000 (I assume this is pre Western Wireless)

New Big 6 Total: 143,000

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    14 thoughts on “Total Cell Towers and Cell Sites by Carrier”

    1. Dave,

      I did not know the answer- so I asked an associate.

      His words:

      “Verizon has a sharing arrangement with Alltel so together they claim the largest network (prior to AT&T/Cingular merger)
      I am having trouble wit the Sprint number here, and the combined Nextel/Sprint numbers are way out of whack.
      CDMA and GSM and the same for TDMA, and all other modulation schemes do not really affect coverage. But that statement alone is not complete as there are capacity issues. Each can utilize only so many channels of the overall spectrum. As the carrier selects the modulation scheme each takes space from another. Depending on which is the “flavor of the month” (right now GSM). Right now Cingular/AT&T are running four different modulations so that impacts coverage, and it is actually 5 since all have to run analogue for a while.”

      Not sure if this answers the question. My thought is that perhaps the number of sites projected by ATC is simply off.

    2. I guess the Verizon number just seems so low. Cingular/ATT have approx 46M subs. Sprint/Nextel have approx 40M subs. Each has approx same number of towers. Then you have Verizon with approx 42M subs and less than half the towers. Even with site sharing with Alltel, the numbers don’t add up.

      I’m not sure how many subs T-mobile has.

      I’m going to keep researching; I plan on contacting American Tower and let you know what I find out.

    3. Is this the most updated information on number of cell towers in the United States? And does anyone now the average number of T1’s that are terminated per tower for access (aka backhaul)

    4. The issue is that even if this is the most updated info- (Which its not- its probably 6 months old) is that no one really knows how many towers there are. Absent the FCC ASRs- which are only required for 200′ or more towers, there is no tracking. ATC’s estimates are just that- an estimate based on what they could gather from the annual statements.

      I would check with on the average number of T1’s. My personal guess (and its totally a guess- barely even a good one) is that it hovers right around 1.8 or so.

    5. martin_ringhofer

      My cousin in Round Mountain Texas (Blanco County) had a cell tower erected next to him without any notice to neighbors for public input. It is ugly. I am interested in finding out what my cousin can do to have it removed.

    6. SteelintheAir

      Unfortunately, not much. The answer depends upon whether your county has zoning regulations regarding towers. If they do, then your cousin should check with the county planning department to confirm that the tower meets those regulations and whether or not he/she can appeal the decision. Please be aware that this would be a potentially expensive undertaking- the tower company will fight back.

      If there are no zoning regulations, then there is not much you can do.

    7. I am trying to figure out how many cell towers are in each of Verizon’s 4 regions. Specifically, how many cell sites are in Verizon’s East region. Thanks.

    8. Is there any way to find the locations for tmobile towers (or any other carrier’s towers for that matter) by zip code or some other geographical metric?

      I live in a mountaneous area and am trying to see which carriers have towers close to my home.

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