Pål Sundsøy, a researcher at Telenor Group Research based in Fornebu, Norway, has figured out a way to evaluate literacy rates in developing countries with the use mobile phone call records. Sundsøy did it by conducting a regular household survey of some 76,000 mobile users living in an unspecified developing country in the Asian continent. The survey was done for a mobile phone operator courtesy of a professional agency, logging each user’s phone number and at the same time, collecting data on whether he or she can read. Sundsøy then matches this information with the call data records from the mobile phone company, which provides offers data on the numbers users called or texted, the length of calls, purchases made air time, and locations of cellular towers, among many others.
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