Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 491–502 | Cite as

Contextual usage patterns in smartphone communication services

  • Juuso KarikoskiEmail author
  • Tapio Soikkeli
Original Article


The mobile end user context has received a lot of attention from the mobile services industry lately. The location-based and context-sensitive information that are characteristic for smartphones can be utilized to study the use context of mobile end users. Accordingly, this article utilizes handset-based data in analyzing how the context of use affects the usage of smartphone communication services. The context is identified with an algorithm utilizing mobile network cell ID and WLAN data and resulting in five place-related contexts, namely Home, Office, Other meaningful, Elsewhere and Abroad. According to our analysis, voice calls are used least intensively in the Home context where the length of the voice calls is the longest, however. Email and SMS are used most intensively in the Office context, where the voice calls are the shortest in duration. Finally, mobile IM/VoIP and social media services are more free-time oriented as they are used most intensively in Elsewhere and Other meaningful contexts. The findings imply that people use smartphone communication services differently depending on the use context. However, context can be defined and identified in a number of ways, and this article presents only one solution that is highly dependent on the type of data collected.


Smartphones Communication services Context detection Handset-based measurements 



Access point


Call data record


Global positioning system


Instant messaging


International organization for standardization


Media access control


Mobile country code


Mobile internet


Multimedia messaging service


Short message service


Uniform resource locator


Voice over internet protocol


Wireless local area network



The work has been supported by the OtaSizzle research project that is funded by Aalto University’s MIDE program and Helsinki University of Technology TKK’s “Technology for Life” campaign donations from private companies and communities. The work was carried out in the Econ@Tel COST605 context with support from the MoMIE project and the Future Internet Graduate School (FIGS). The authors wish to thank MobiTrack Innovations Ltd. for providing the mobile audience measurement platform. The sponsoring from Nokia and Elisa to this work is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communications and NetworkingAalto UniversityAaltoFinland

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