International Long-Distance Slumps, While Skype Soars
January 06, 2011
New data from TeleGeography show that growth in international call traffic has slumped while international traffic routed via Skype continues to accelerate. International phone traffic grew an estimated 4 percent in 2010, to 413 billion minutes, down from 5 percent growth in 2009, and a far cry from the 15 percent average growth rate achieved during the previous two decades.
Where did the growth go? One factor contributing to the slowdown is the deep recession of 2007-2009, which affected business demand for international communications and many consumers’ ability to pay for international telephone calls. Economic conditions are reflected in sharply reduced calling card volumes, and in a drop in traffic from the U.S. to Central America.
Internet-based voice services, like Skype, account for another, longer-term challenge to international carriers. Cross-border traffic routed by Skype, by far the largest provider of Internet-based voice communications, is projected to grow by an astonishing 45 billion minutes in 2010—more than twice the volume added by all of the world’s phone companies, combined.
Net Increase in ILD and Skype Traffic, 2005-2010
"Demand for international communications remains strong," notes TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert. "But ever more people are discovering that they can communicate without the services of a telco."
TeleGeography has been a vital source of statistics and analysis for the international long distance market for nearly 20 years. To find out more and to download a copy of the executive summary, please visit http://www.telegeography.com/research-services/telegeography-report-database/.