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Telco AI World Summit 2023
April 2023

5 Telco Research Pilots for Social Good

Here we run through several pilot projects that show the relevance of Telco Big Data for helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Poverty Analysis in Senegal (Orange and the State University of New York at Buffalo USA).

By using mobile phone usage data and regional level mobility information, Orange and the State University of New York are creating poverty maps showcasing a wide range of perspectives which can be provided to decision makers with better insights to eradicate poverty in the most efficient way possible in Senegal.

A similar approach was conducted in a policy research paper by the World Bank and Telefónica Research In this case, mobile phone data was used to create an estimated map of poverty in Guatemala. Interestingly, the authors demonstrate not only the potential of mobile data for estimating poverty but also to generate predictive models.


Mobility Data Analysis in Mexico during the H1N1 Flu Outbreak (Movistar)

Scientific experts in the Telefónica Research and Development team used analytics on Telefónica data to understand the efficiency of government measures during the H1N1 flu outbreak of 2009. Human movement directly accelerates the spread of diseases, so researchers analysed mobility patterns before and after the government advised citizens to stay at home, uncovering that only 30% of people stayed at home, approach to whilst 70% barely showed any changes in their day to day behaviour. In the future, this data approach to handling health pandemics will inevitably save lives and help governments to optimize their response.


Using Mobile Data for Electrification Planning in Senegal (University of Manchester, Ecole supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar UCAD and the Santa Fe Institute).

Mobile phone data has proved to be an accurate proxy of the energy needs of populations in Senegal, allowing telecommunications operators to help utilities providers build bottom-up demand models. This is especially important where there is scarce information on the constantly evolving energy needs of people and companies in developing countries. In the future, mobile data will be crucial in helping governments and utilities providers decide where to invest in renewable energies – ultimately making them more affordable for citizens.


Crime Prediction in the city of London in the UK (02 Telefónica and the University of Trento)

Academic and mobile data experts used anonymized and aggregated mobile data and police data to predict crime hotspots in London. These hotspots were identified with an accuracy of 70%, 6% higher than when police data was used on its own. The analysis showed that some components of mobile phone data are more important than others. For example, the data about the phone’s home location showed a strong correlation with crime patterns. In the future, these insights could be invaluable to law enforcement authorities in making our cities safer.


Using Mobile Data to measure CO2 emissions in Nuremberg, Germany (O2 Telefónica, Teralytics and the South Pole Group)

Local governments are facing immense challenges with accelerating rates of CO2 emissions causing serious air pollution problems in cities. The first and most important step to combat this is to collect accurate data to identify where the major air pollution hotspots are, even ahead of investing in solutions such as improved public transport or new infrastructure. In Nuremberg, local government decision makers are working with O2, ontrafficTeralytics and the South Pole Group to understand mobility patterns using mobile data, extracting on traffic which allow them to make predictions on pollution in a more cost-efficient way than surveys or sensors.

Telefonica - Luca

There are now about 8 billion mobile phones in the world and collectively, the activity of those mobile phones generates a substantial amount of data. In this white paper, we give an overview of the current possibilities for using Big Data to help achieve the sustainable development Goals that the United Nations has set for 2030.