We study the interaction between the consumption of digital services via mobile devices and urbanization levels, using measurement data collected in an operational network serving the whole territory of France. We unveil that such an interaction follows a power law, or, in other words, there exists an emergent behavior that prompts subscribers living in increasingly extended and populated urban areas to exhibit a surging individual consumption of mobile traffic. The result holds for the global traffic but is also consistently observed across a range of mobile services, although with varying intensity. An unprecedented longitudinal analysis of the phenomenon unveils how the imbalance in the per-capita mobile data traffic usage across cities of different size has grown steadily and substantially in the 2014–2019 time frame in France. Our study raises questions on the presence of second-level digital divides in developed countries and paves the road to further investigations.
Sachit Mishra received his bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication from Jaypee University of Engineering and technology, Guna, India and his M.Sc degree in Computer Science from the Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. degree with the Network Data Science Group at IMDEA Networks, Madrid, Spain. During his master’s thesis, he collaborated with Tierra Telematics, developing a machine learning application which enabled the automatic scheduling of the periodic maintenance of industrial vehicles. His main research interests are machine learning, Big Data, data science, data analysis, and remote sensing
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