17 March 2012

On the relationship between socio-economic factors and cell phone usage

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The ubiquitous presence of cell phones in emerging economies has brought about a wide range of cell phone-based services for low-income groups. Often times, the success of such technologies highly depends on its adaptation to the needs and habits of each social group.

In an attempt to understand how cell phones are being used by citizens in an emerging economy, the authors, Vanessa Frias-Martinez and Jesus Virseda of Telefonica Research, present a large-scale study to analyze the relationship between specific socio-economic factors and the way people use cell phones in an emerging economy in Latin America. They propose a novel analytical approach that combines large-scale datasets of cell phone records with countrywide census data to reveal findings at a national level.

The main results show correlations between socio-economic levels and social network or mobility patterns among others. The authors also provide analytical models to accurately approximate census variables from cell phone records with R2≈0.82.

Download paper (posted on MobileActive.org)

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