According to new data from TeleGeography, Skype’s international traffic volume continues to soar. TeleGeography estimates that Skype’s on-net (Skype to Skype) international traffic grew 36 percent in 2013, to 214 billion minutes.
International telephone traffic from fixed and mobile phones continues to grow as well, increasing an estimated 7 percent in 2013, to 547 billion minutes. However, recent growth rates are well below the 13 percent average that carriers posted over many of the past 20 years, and the benefits of traffic growth have largely been offset by steady price declines.
While the volume of international telephone traffic remains far larger than international Skype traffic, Skype’s minutes are growing much more rapidly. Skype added approximately 54 billion minutes of international traffic in 2013, 50 percent more than the combined international volume growth of every telco in the world. Given these immense traffic volumes, it’s difficult not to conclude that at least some of Skype’s growth is coming at the expense of traditional carriers.
Such strong traffic growth more than 10 years after Skype’s launch is particularly impressive in light of the growing acceptance of a wide range of alternative over-the-top (OTT) communications applications for mobile devices. OTT messaging applications are among the most popular mobile apps, and several, including Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Line, Tango, Google Hangouts, and Samsung’s ChatOn, have been installed more than 100 million times from Google’s online Play app store, alone.
“The rapid spread of OTT services is making life ever more challenging for international service providers, but the PSTN will not disappear anytime soon,” said TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert. “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.”
The TeleGeography Report has been a vital source of statistics and analysis for the international long-distance market for over 20 years. To find out more and to download a copy of the executive summary, please visit www.telegeography.com/research-services/telegeography-report-database.
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