A log of vast numbers of individuals’ movements and actions is a burgeoning goldmine for major wireless carriers, the MIT Technology Review writes:
Wireless operators have access to an unprecedented volume of information about users’ real-world activities, but for years these massive data troves were put to little use other than for internal planning and marketing.
This data is under lock and key no more. Under pressure to seek new revenue streams, a growing number of mobile carriers are now carefully mining, packaging, and repurposing their subscriber data to create powerful statistics about how people are moving about in the real world.
In Europe, Telefonica launched a similar program last October, and the head of this new business unit gave the keynote address at new industry conference on “big data monetization in telecoms” in January.
AirSage, an Atlanta, Georgia, a company founded in 2000, has spent much of the last decade negotiating what it says are exclusive rights to put its hardware inside the firewalls of two of the top three U.S. wireless carriers and collect, anonymize, encrypt, and analyze cellular tower signaling data in real time. It has been processing 15 billion locations a day and can account for movement of about a third of the U.S. population in some places to within less than 100 meters.