Most of us are wedded to our handsets, and this extensive usage creates a treasure trove of data waiting to be unlocked by operators. Mobile data creates a lot of potential opportunities for incremental revenue growth.

For example, this information could be used to measure and optimize new transportation systems or provide retailers with information on footfall demographics or help brands better target their offerings through a greater understanding of their customers.

So what’s stopping operators from unlocking this pot of gold? The main barrier is carriers’ ability to implement new business models with new sales channels that reach a different customer, selling a different proposition. In short, mobile network operators are built as businesses that focus on cost-optimization in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market.


Population analysis, also called movement analytics, is a data-driven technique for answering questions about the movement of people. Its power comes from its ability to not only understand where anonymous groups of people are at a given time, but where they have been, how they got there and where they may be going next.

The value of this data cannot be overstated. It’s predicted that there will be over 30 million connected devices operating on mobile networks by 2020. Each of these devices generate data that can be used to create new propositions that result in incremental revenue for the operators. In order to successfully capture this revenue, the operators will need partners that know how to turn this data into propositions that companies are willing to pay for. Finding the right partnerships will negate the need to invest in large, costly and time consuming technology infrastructures, building new sales channels or integrating new offerings.

But in many of the propositions that mobile data could target, we also know that enhancing that data with additional sources – such as GPS – provides precision and will increase the revenue potential even further. Mobile network operators don’t generally have access to GPS data and finding a partner that does is another critical step towards monetization. In the right hands, the combination of mobile data and GPS data becomes something much more than the sum of its parts – a true foundation for movement analytics that combines the sample size of mobile data (~30% of the population) with the granular accuracy of GPS (~5-10m).

Movement analytics is a promising investment for operators looking to differentiate themselves from OTT players that use mobile internet to drive their own services. Operators can leverage vast amounts of anonymised data from their own networks to drive new value-added services and additional revenues with partners, which is something that OTT players can’t do so easily.

In a global industry forecast by Machina Research, this market will be worth approximately $110 billion by 2020.

Example use case: Many existing city infrastructures are under strain, designed at times when populations were far smaller. As such, governments and public sector planners can no longer build their way out of congestion; they are tasked with finding other means of extending and re-engineering cities to cope with fast-growing urban populations.

Using movement analytics, they can measure and model how many people move around urban spaces, including where they come from and where they return to. This is a critical data tool that is enabled by operator data (combined with GPS), that will in turn support informed decision making about building new roads, cycle corridors or light rail infrastructure.