Why has mobile big data (MBD) been useful during Covid-19?

During the Covid-19 pandemic decision makers used insights powered by mobile big data analytics inform evidence-based response measures. MBD, when anonymized, aggregated and combined with other data sets, can give valuable insight into the characteristics and mobility of populations; vital information to understand and control the spread of the virus, direct resources and measure the economic impacts of response measures.

How has mobile big data been used?

Throughout the pandemic, but particularly in the beginning stages, information was scarce, and the situation was rapidly evolving. Mobile operators were able to provide high-quality, accurate, timely data to inform a wide variety of response measures, as explored in the figure below. The Utilising mobile big data and AI to benefit society report describes the way in which this response took place.

Covid-19 Response

The responsible use of data, and respect for individual privacy, are vital components of projects which draw insights from mobile big data in response to the pandemic. Further information on how the GSMA promoted best practice can be found in the section on 'Privacy and ethics considerations'.

Who was involved?

Globally, mobile operators have worked with governments and international agencies in 40 countries to better understand and respond to the virus. With the support of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, GSMA responded to requests from 14 low and middle income countries (LMICs), and supported the development of mobile big data products in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Rwanda and Burkina Faso. These initiatives are explored in more detail in the 'Covid-19 Case Studies'.

uk aid

This initiative was funded by UK aid from the UK government and supported by the GSMA and its members.

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government's official policies.