Assessing the Quality of Mobile Phone Data as a Source of Statistics

Document date: 
Tuesday, 31 May, 2016

Mobile phone data are among the most promising big data sources presently under scrutiny by official statistics, although until now only limited showcase examples have been presented. This paper moves one step further and aims to assess the quality of Belgian mobile phone data (from the major network operator, Proximus) in an analysis conducted jointly by Statistics Belgium, Eurostat and Proximus, focusing on actual present population.
The mobile phone data, aggregated for privacy reasons, were tested for internal consistency and compared to results of the 2011 Census. They were shown to provide valid and accurate information which may serve as a complement to traditional statistics, but also as an entry point in real time to phenomena inaccessible until now.