When my cellphone accesses a website via the tower and its GPRS gateway, NAT ensures that the sites receive a public IP. Would all phones using a single tower have the same IP?

  • If yes, then how can the mass of received HTTP data routed to the correct cellphone? And how can websites differentiate between cellphone visitors? Is there additional HTTP header data?
  • If no, then how are these unique IPs assigned? Based on availability or location? Would each tower have a fixed set of IPs?
  • 1
    If you happen to have an Android phone, you can check your local IP in settings -> status, it's most likely 10.x.y.z. Then visit whatsmyip.org to see your public IP. Then compare it with a friend's phone who has the same provider.
    – ott--
    Sep 27, 2013 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


To answer your first question mobile/cell-phone IP addresses are handed out using DHCP like any other client device. To answer your second questions, well yes, through NAT - that's what NAT does, it allows multiple 'inside' devices to get IP services through a NAT gateway - external IP services will not be able to identify individual internal devices like phones by IP but could via a session ID, cookie or similar.

  • I'm a little confused, would all phones using a tower have the same public IP address? yes/no? Aug 29, 2009 at 19:23
  • 4
    Provider dependent. There's no reason they have to though.
    – Cian
    Aug 29, 2009 at 19:26
  • 5
    I thought most cell phones use PPP, and so they don't actually use DHCP but instead get their IP from the remote end of the ppp connection...
    – chris
    Aug 29, 2009 at 23:17
  • 3
    Correct, the traffic only turns into IP in a one or only a few centralised locations - it isn't IP traffic at the tower.
    – Chopper3
    Aug 31, 2009 at 10:09
  • 3
    Remember also why: Phones must be able to switch towers. DHCP per tower would mean new IP address which would break all connections currently open.
    – TomTom
    Dec 8, 2015 at 20:31

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