Mobile Phone Data Presents a “Signature of Humanity”

Is there now so much wireless data that it can give us insights into user behavior that we didn’t have before?

This month Ericsson released its “Traffic and Market Report” featuring insights into the current traffic and market trends. As part of that report, the company highlighted an MIT SENSEable City Lab study on how data is consumed over wireless networks, entitled “The Signature of Humanity.”

The study included a time-based narrative and the type of activity in which the data is consumed. According to the study, the top nine usage categories are video playback, web browsing, file sharing, file download, social networking, media playback, software update, audio playback and email. The study found that “software updates can generate considerable traffic at night” and that “traffic profiles do not undergo major changes during weekends.”

Of course all of that app traffic takes its toll on the network. We did a similar study with Signals Research Group, LLC (SRG) using our Open Channel traffic optimization solution and found that smartphones generate an inordinate amount of signaling, often occurring without any human interaction, and in most cases without the knowledge of the subscriber. This is in line with the nighttime traffic mentioned in the MIT report.

Our Open Channel solution allows carriers to monitor and reduce this signaling by stopping unnecessary data requests, and only allowing an app to connect to the network if content updates are available. For more information, please visit

About SEVEN Networks

SEVEN Networks software solutions deliver device-centric mobile traffic management and analytics for wireless carriers. Extending control from the network to the mobile client gives operators the power to manage and optimize data traffic before it impacts the network. Device-based analytics offer deeper and timelier insight than solutions that are solely network based. SEVEN’s Open Channel products reduce operator costs, increase efficiency in the use of wireless infrastructure, and enhance end-user experience. They bring immediate capacity relief to overloaded networks, simplify the creation of innovative new service plans, and provide actionable intelligence for mobile carriers.
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