The "Data for Development" (D4D) challenge was an open data challenge giving access to anonymised mobile phone databases from mobile network operator (MNO) ‘Orange’ in Côte d'Ivoire. It aimed to explore novel opportunities for supporting the national socio-economic development and contribute useful analyses and insights for practitioners. The datasets were based on Call Detail Records (CDR) of phone calls and SMS exchanges of five million Orange users between December 1, 2011 and April 28, 2012.
The data set included anonymised information such as antenna-to-antenna traffic on an hourly basis and trajectories of individual mobile phone usage over time. The initiative resulted in a collection of 74 selected papers that demonstrated various opportunities to distill valuable insights for the socio-economic development of Côte d'Ivoire, including on challenges related to public health, mobility and transport. This project can be replicated in other geographic contexts, especially where the penetration rate of mobile phones is high and potentially where MNOs, research institutes, and public authorities have experience with partnerships to exchange and utilise mobile phone data to support policymaking for the common good.
(Figure © Blondel, V. et. al. (2013)).