Skype eats into international voice growth

Dylan Bushell-Embling
16 Jan 2014

Popular messaging and VoIP service Skype's share of international voice traffic continues to increase, with its strong growth coming at the expense of traditional telecom operators.

Skype's international traffic grew 36% in 2013 to 214 billion minutes, Telegeography estimates.

The company added around 54 billion minutes of international traffic in 2013, 50% more than the combined international volume growth of every telco in the world.

International voice traffic from fixed lines and mobile phones in fact increased just 7% in 2013 to 547 billion minutes, well below the 13% average annual growth rates from the past 20 years. And any benefits of the traffic growth to carriers' revenue have been offset by steady price declines.

But TeleGeography analyst Stephen Beckert said it's not all bad news for operators. “The rapid spread of OTT services is making life ever more challenging for international service providers, but the PSTN will not disappear anytime soon,” he said.

“No other network comes close to matching the global reach of the PSTN. While Facebook has approximately 1.2 billion monthly users, at year-end 2013, the PSTN connected to just over 8 billion fixed and mobile subscribers worldwide.”

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