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UN Handbook on the Use of Mobile Phone Data for Official Statistics (English)


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 This book gives guidance for countries that are in the process of designing or implementing a project for using mobile phone data for their official statistics. The book comprises of four chapters (Applications, Data sources, Access to mobile phone data and partnership models, Methods), followed up by two country case studies.

Mobile phone data has surfaced in recent years as one of the big data sources with great promise for its use in official statistics. There is an expectation that mobile phone data could fill data gaps, especially for developing countries, given their high penetration rates. In its 2018 report, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows cellular telephone subscriptions keep growing, even when there are already more subscriptions than people on Earth.

Developing countries and least developed countries will continue to reduce the gap with developed countries. This goes to show how pervasive mobile phone use is. ITU elaborates that rural areas are still lagging behind urban areas, and this should be considered in studies using mobile phone data, but it is clear that the coverage of this data is global. Almost every person in the world lives within reach of a mobile cellular signal.