New research from TeleGeography, a telecom market analysis firm, shows that worldwide Skype usage is now equivalent to over one-third of all international phone traffic—a record level.
The firm’s new data, released Wednesday, shows that “international telephone traffic grew 5 percent in 2012, to 490 billion minutes.” At the same time, “cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic grew 44 percent in 2012, to 167 billion minutes. This increase of nearly 51 billion minutes is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined.”
While that doesn’t mean that telcos are going to go out of business anytime soon, it does mean that they are certainly continuing to feel the heat.
“International providers have to rely on steady growth rates to maintain revenues,” Stephan Beckert, an analyst at TeleGeography, told Ars. “What we've seen is a slowdown in growth rates and some is due to economic trends.”
But, he underscored, Skype and other similar “over-the-top” apps and services like Viber, Whatsapp, Google Voice, and many others are really putting pressure on traditional telcos.
“I think what's interesting is that 2012 versus previous years is that Skype is no longer a small business—they're no longer a startup,” Beckert added. “We would expect that the growth rate would be tailing off over time. The very high sustained growth rate is pretty remarkable.”