Mobile Phone Data

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The statistical community has the obligation of exploring the use of new data sources, such as Big Data, to meet the expectation of the society for enhanced products and improved and more efficient ways of working. Big Data could also support the monitoring of the Post-2015 development goals by improving timeliness and relevance of indicators without compromising their impartiality and methodological soundness. The report of the Global Working Group (GWG) to the Statistical Commission (E/CN.3/2015/4) provides additional background to the work of the task team, where the Terms of Reference of the GWG serves as general reference, but each task team also has its own specific terms.

The task team on Mobile Phone Data is created as a separate team, since Mobile Phone Data has surfaced in recent years as one of the Big Data sources with a lot of promise. It is expected that Mobile Phone data could fill data gaps especially for developing countries given their high penetration rates. In its 2014 “Measuring the Information Society Report”, ITU shows that the average mobile subscription rate is 96.4 per 100 inhabitants world-wide, with some lower averages in Asia (89.2) and Africa (69.3). Nevertheless, these numbers show how pervasive mobile phone use is. ITU elaborates that rural areas are still lacking behind urban areas, and this should be considered in studies using Mobile Phone data, but it is clear that the coverage of these data is global. Almost every person in the world lives within reach of a mobile-cellular signal.


International Meeting on Measuring Human Mobility

  Tbilisi, Georgia         27 - 29 March 2019

Workshop and Training Materials

Download Training Materials from the 4th International Conference on Big Data
        Bogota, Colombia         Nov 2017


Given the wide-spread use of mobile phones in developed and developing countries, and in urban and rural areas, and against the background of a need for detailed statistics for policy purposes, including data to monitor the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, this task team should develop methodologies, which will support the compilation of SDG indicators and will provide complementary information and quality checks of SDG indicators, by using mobile phone data, particularly to facilitate the monitoring of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people (Target 10.7) as well as to monitor tourism as an enabler of economic growth and creator of jobs (Target 8.9).


  1. Develop a pilot project in Oman
  2. Participate in a pilot project of CSO Ireland
  3. Develop a knowledge base for the use of Mobile Phone data, starting with an inventory of ongoing activities



  • Australia
  • Cameroon
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Mexico
  • Oman
  • Tanzania

International Organizations

  • Eurostat
  • ITU
  • UN Global Pulse
  • UNSD
  • World Bank
  • Positium