[Updated] [How to] Extract specific cells from the OpenCelliD csv database

Update on 27th April 2018:
Looking for cells belonging to a particular country?
You can now access it directly from the downloads page. Link

The complete OpenCelliD cells database is a ~900mb zipped file. After extracting this, it comes down to a ~3 gb CSV. You’ll not be able to view/ work on this via excel as the file is too large for Microsoft Excel to handle.

You can use something like ReCSVeditor to open and extract data from the csv. The reCsvEditor is a cross platform editor for large Csv Files. Author: Bruce Martin

1. Download the cells database from OpenCelliD downloads page
2. Extract the zipped file
3. Download, Install and Run ReCSVeditor
4. Find and Open the CSV in ReCSVeditor

5. Wait, while it reads the file

6. Wait some more

7. Apply all filters you need and click on Filter (We chose to extract all cells with MCC=228) You can find the list of MCC by country here

8. Wait, while it runs your query (If it disappears, don’t worry, it’s probably still running the query. Check your task manager to confirm this)

9. Export output as CSV

There are a number of ways to extract and play around with large CSV files, I’ve found this to be the easiest (unless you know SQL). If there is any other program you’ve used, please share it below.


I have found csvgrep to be the quickest way of extracting data from the OpenCellID dataset. For example, if you want to extract data for South Sudan which has a mobile country code (MCC) of 659, it would look like this:

csvgrep -c2 -m659 cell_towers.csv

where c indicates the column you want to search and m the value you want to grep for. Works with other columns too of course.

More info on csvgrep at



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