Our Methodology

For Global Digital Divide Network Cell Info Reports

Number of Cell IDs Detected Per Operator / Country / Technology / Frequency

Each collected and verified record contains fields including the Cell Identifier, Mobile Network Operator (carrier) name, Technology, Frequency Band, and Location. Simple group by queries are executed to count the number of records in any specific category.  

Growth Rate in Detected Cell IDs

M2Catalyst records the date of every event and as a result tracks the time/date a new Cell ID is detected and records that as a “First Seen” date. The growth rates are calculated by counting the number of new Cell IDs detected with a First Seen date in the particular reporting period.

Location of Detected Cell IDs

Each captured record contains the location of the handset, plus the connected serving Cell ID, at the time the record was generated.  Aggregation of these readings is used to predict the location of the serving Cell ID. These readings are used to predict the location of the serving Cell ID. 

We calculate the parent eNodeB from each Cell ID (for 4G and 5G-NSA records only) and then approximate the location of that eNodeB by averaging the latitude and longitude of all Cell IDs associated with the parent eNodeB.

Predicted Location of the eNodeB (Cell Site)

An eNodeB identifies all of the Cell IDs and Antennas that are on a single site. The site could be a tower, rooftop, monopole, indoor-DAS, or small cell.  A typical cell tower usually has 3 antenna sectors per MNO pointing in different directions, each antenna with two or three Cell IDs (one Cell ID for each frequency on each Antenna). Oftentimes, 6 to 9 Cell IDs belong to each MNO on the same site (eNodeB).

Population Distribution

To include only populated regions in our analysis, we use data from www.worldpop.org. We have used the latest (2020) data, which provides a global population mosaic set at a resolution of 30 arcseconds (equivalent to about 1 sq km at the equator).

Population > 5km from Nearest Known Cell Site

Each calculated eNodeB location is given a 5000 meter radius and plotted within the specific bounds of the country of interest. Where populated locations are outside of those 5000m radius plots we assign a status of “>5km from nearest known eNodeB”. We then sum the total population within those assigned locations. Location analysis is completed once per operator and for all operators combined.

M2Catalyst Digital Divide Score

The M2Catalyst Digital Divide Score is the result generated by a proprietary algorithm taking into consideration the various factors discussed above.