From seconds to months: an overview of multi-scale dynamics of mobile telephone calls Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2015

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 10


  • 6(164)


  • 88

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1434-6028

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1434-6036


  • Big Data on electronic records of social interactions allow approaching human behaviour and sociality from a quantitative point of view with unforeseen statistical power. Mobile telephone Call Detail Records (CDRs), automatically collected by telecom operators for billing purposes, have proven especially fruitful for understanding one-to-one communication patterns as well as the dynamics of social networks that are reflected in such patterns. We present an overview of empirical results on the multi-scale dynamics of social dynamics and networks inferred from mobile telephone calls. We begin with the shortest timescales and fastest dynamics, such as burstiness of call sequences between individuals, and "zoom out" towards longer temporal and larger structural scales, from temporal motifs formed by correlated calls between multiple individuals to long-term dynamics of social groups. We conclude this overview with a future outlook.


  • Mathematics
  • Sociology


  • big data; mobile telephone calls; call detail records; social networks; social interactions