Survey of Cellular Mobile Radio Localization Methods: From 1G to 5G

José A. Del Peral-Rosado, Ronald Raulefs, José A. López-Salcedo, Gonzalo Seco-Granados

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

446 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 IEEE. Cellular systems evolved from a dedicated mobile communication system to an almost omnipresent system with unlimited coverage anywhere and anytime for any device. The growing ubiquity of the network stirred expectations to determine the location of the mobile devices themselves. Since the beginning of standardization, each cellular mobile radio generation has been designed for communication services, and satellite navigation systems, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), have provided precise localization as an add-on service to the mobile terminal. Self-contained localization services relying on the mobile network elements have offered only rough position estimates. Moreover, satellite-based technologies suffer a severe degradation of their localization performance in indoors and urban areas. Therefore, only in subsequent cellular standard releases, more accurate cellular-based location methods have been considered to accommodate more challenging localization services. This survey provides an overview of the evolution of the various localization methods that were standardized from the first to the fourth generation of cellular mobile radio, and looks over what can be expected with the new radio and network aspects for the upcoming generation of fifth generation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1148
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • 5G
  • Cellular localization
  • cellular networks
  • positioning
  • standard location methods


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