Am I connecting to a neighbor's cellspot?

  • 28 February 2019
  • 11 replies

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I use the app cellmapper on my phone. It shows a map indicating on it which tower I am connected to and shows some date in connection with that tower.

The map is drawing a line from my phone in my house to another house about a quarter of a mile (or slightly less) away.

The info at that site is:

T-Mobile (B4 LTE-A, CID 85787 MCC 30, MNC 260, TAC 14190

Is it possible for someone from Tmobile to tell me if this is a cellspot?

If so, how secure is it for me? Since this is someone else's internet connection, is there anything I should be aware of as far as security is concerned? Is it at all possible for the owner of this cellspot to gain access to my phone's communications?



Best answer by syaoran 28 February 2019, 17:01

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11 replies

Userlevel 4

If the line is connecting from you to another house is definitely a cell spot.  Or at least I think so.  Especially with it being band 4. If you are in town you should be getting 66 on cellmapper or 12. There's no real security concern there, they cannot access your phone nor the information that you're passing along, unfortunately you cannot prevent your phone from connecting to that cell spot but typically a cell spot is only usable a few hundred feet away .typically any tower will override the cell spot and you would connect to that. I have a cellspot 15 feet away from me and I still connect to a weaker tower.

Userlevel 7
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In some cases though, micro-towers are placed in what seems line a residential address or church.  The same goes for power sub-stations, telecom and cable sub-statons, etc.

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Is there a way to tell if it's a cellspot from any of the following:

eNB 85787 Cell 1 - LTE-A

PCI 39

Band 4

TAC 14190

TX Frequency 1748MHZ

RX Frequency 2196.147MHZ

Also, the location indicated is about 1/5th of a mile away and I get 5 bars. Would a cellspot signal be this strong?


Userlevel 7
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A cellspot shouldn't be that strong.  That would drive the people and pets in the house nuts with massive headaches from the radio output if it was that strong. 

Check amd see if it losts it as a local IP for your local or somewhere further away.  When I check mine from Hampton, VA, I get an IP from North Carolina.  If you get something specific to your area, should be able to sniff the provider.  If it is a cellspot, then it will come up as the ISP the cellspot is using instead of T-Mobile. 

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When I check I get an IP address from about 10 miles away. So would this indicate it's a cellspot?

Strange thing is, Imy phone can actually get a signal from this cellspot or whatever it is from about 2 miles away, albeit at -109db but still, it can detect it. Seems like an awfully long distance for a cellspot.

I actually followed the cellmapper map to where it indicates the cell location is. Totally residential area and I was actually able to pinpoint it to a specific house, again according to the cellmapper map. I see absolutely no normal cell phone tower in that neighborhood. So unless that map is incorrect, the cell is at someone's house or on his property. Is it possible that some kind of Tmobile cell (maybe a mini cell or something) is there?

Again, is there no way to tell what it is based on the numbers I provided earlier?

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BTW, when I look at the coverage of that cell in the cellmapper map, it extends quite a ways away from the house, in several directions from several different cells. The one I am apparently connecting to at my home actually seems to be extending out at least a mile and a half.

Userlevel 7
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My guess is that there is a micro-tower inside of the house.  Most church's that still have stipoles, have micro-towers inside.of them.  Allowing that is a good way to make some extra cash.  No one would want to see a sub-station built in their neighborhood or have a cell tower right in the middle of a row of houses.  This is why companies sometimes purchase a property and convert the inside of it into what they need it for.  From the outside, it still looks like a home, but no one actually lives there. 

You could also give T-Mobile's network team a call and see if they can tell you if there is a tower or micro-tower in the area.  Over short distances, band 71 has excellent signal strenth. 

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I might give Tmobile a call later to see if they can tell me anything. I was just hoping one of them could do so here.

Userlevel 4

TMO won't tell you tower locations.  Cellmapper, which I use, and other similar apps, might get close but usually aren't too accurate as to specific tower locations.

At that distance it isn't a cellspot.

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Thanks, I think the signal is too strong to be a cellspot too. Is it possible that it IS a cell inside a house purchased by Tmobile for this? This seems a bit far fetched to me too, but I guess anything is possible.

Thing is I literally drove AROUND the house that cellmapper indicated and it always pointed right at that house.

Userlevel 4

I really don't have an answer to that one. Obviously if is that strong to reach that far it's not a cell spot and I doubt anybody has a cell tower in their house. It's quite possible that there's a business nearby or a water tower or a light pole or something that may have TMobile equipment on there but again these apps are not very accurate.