Analysis of mobile phone networks and mobile phone datasets

For about a decade, I have been analyzing (together with some of my students and co-authors) the structure and properties of networks obtained from anonymized mobile phone datasets. The datasets analyzed often involve millions of users and months of communications. In some cases location information is also available.

Paul Expert, Tim Evans, Vincent D. Blondel, Renaud Lambiotte, Beyond space for spatial networks, 2010. arXiv:1012.3409
Abstract: We show that it is possible to factor out the effect of space in networks in order to reveal hidden structural similarities between the nodes.

Interdisciplinary Workshop on Information and Decisions in Social Networks
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA)
May 2011

Vincent D. Blondel, G. M. Krings, I. Thomas, Regions and borders of mobile telephony in Belgium and around Brussels, Brussels Studies 42, 2010. [PDF]
Abstract: We examine the existence of regions and borders in Belgium by means of an original data set of more than 200 million mobile communications and a mathematical method which allows networks to be divided into coherent groups in a natural and automatic manner.

Reports in the media
Le Soir, 1/10/2010, page 1 and page 5 [PDF], Les flux GSM élargissent Bruxelles
RTBF radio (La Première), 1/10/2010, Matin première
Le Soir, 1/10/2010, Négociations, le bout du tunnel?, 00:45-1:38, 8:55-9:17
RTBF télévision, JT 13h, 1/10/2010, 14:09-16:04
Portail UCL, L'élargissement de Bruxelles, 1/10/2010
RTBF télévision, JT 19h, 1/10/2010, 5:30-7:20
La Libre Belgique, 2/10/2010, page 8 [PDF], Le GSM redessine Bruxelles
La Dernière Heure, 2/10/2010, L'usage des GSM par les Belges redessine Bruxelles!
7/7, 2/10/2010, Les flux GSM élargissent Bruxelles
Télé Bruxelles, 1/10/2010, JT 18h00, 5:25-5:55
VRT, Radio 1, Jounal parlé, 5/10/2010

[Czech Republic] Česká televize, Další z evropských krizí, tentokrát v Belgii, 15/12/2010

Workshop on the Analysis of Mobile Phone Networks
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA)
May 2010
Vincent Blondel and Gautier Krings (Eds)
The book of abstracts of that conference is a good place to start to get an idea of the state-of-the-art in the area. The book of asbstracts can be downloaded from the conference website.

Reports in the media
[France] Science actualités: actualités de la Cité des Sciences, 8 mars 2010, Big brother est dans votre poche, par Viviane Thivent
[USA] Technology review, May 27, 2010, Mobile Data: A Gold Mine for Telcos, by Tom Simonite
Translations and comments in:
[China]  移 动数据:电信公司的金矿 作者:汤姆•西蒙尼特 发稿时, June 6, 2010
[Germany] Goldmine im Äther, 31-05-2010
[Spain] Los datos de los móviles: Una mina de oro para las empresas de telecomunicaciones, Jueves, 27 de mayo, 2010:
[Vietnam] ICT News, Dữ liệu di động: Mỏ vàng mới của nhà mạng, by Quốc Cường
[Hungary], Informatica & Tudom'any, 2010. június 9, Aranybányát jelenthetnek a reklámcégeknek a mobil adatok
Also featured in: Communications of the ACMKDnuggets, Tech Spotlight, Schoolinfosystem, Woofed.
[Germany] Spiegel Online, 23.06.2010, Wie Handys die Welt beobachten, von Konrad Lischka
[Austria] Pressetext, 5/06/2010, Handy-Verbindungsdaten sind Goldgrube, Redakteur: Johannes Pernsteiner
Featured in:
Winfuture, June 5, 2010, Mobile Verbindungsdaten sind eine Goldgrube
PCWelt, Handy-Verbindungsdaten sind Goldgrube
Computerwoche, 07.06.2010, Handy-Verbindungsdaten sind eine Goldgrube
Virenschutz, Veröffentlicht am Monday, 07.June 2010 von Redaktion, Handy Daten muessen besser geschuetzt werden
derStandart, 05. Juni 2010, 13:24, Handy-Verbindungsdaten sind Goldgrube
[France] Internet Actu, 12/7/2010, La nouvelle science des données, par Hubert Guillaud
[Germany] Die Zeit, Zeit Wissen, 1/9/2010, Die wachsende Gier, Niels Boeing

Gautier Krings, Francesco Calabrese, Carlo Ratti, Vincent D. Blondel, Urban gravity: a model for inter-city telecommunication flows. Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, L07003, 2009. [PDF]
Abstract: We show that inter-city communication intensity is characterized by a gravity model: the communication intensity between two cities is proportional to the product of their sizes divided by the square of their distance.

Renaud Lambiotte, Vincent D. Blondel, Cristobald de Kerchove, Etienne Huens, Christophe Prieur, Zbigniew Smoreda, Paul Van Dooren, Geographical dispersal of mobile communication networks. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 387, pp. 5317-5325, 2008. [PDF]
Abstract: We analyze statistical properties of a communication network consisting of 2.5 million customers that have placed 810 million communications over a period of 6 months. We show that the probability that two customers are connected is proportional to the inverse of the square of their distance. We also consider the geographical extension of communication triangles and show that communication triangles are not only composed of geographically adjacent nodes but that they may extend over large distances.

Vincent D. Blondel, Jean-Loup Guillaume, Renaud Lambiotte, Etienne Lefebvre, Fast unfolding of communites in large networks, Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, 1742-5468, P10008, 2008. [PDF]
Abstract, We propose a simple method, the "Louvain method", to extract the community structure of large networks. This method is used to identify language communities in a Belgian mobile phone network.