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TeleGeography says that the international voice-over-IP traffic grew a mere 23 percent in 2003, much lower than typical growth rates of 80%. However this slowdown could be temporary, and the volumes should be up 40% by end of 2004. “The slowdown in 2003 was due, in part, to the growing maturity of the industry, and partially due to temporary setbacks in a few key destination countries,” said TeleGeography analyst Patrick Christian.
23% growth is still pretty decent compared to the traditional voice business, which is falling faster than 49ers chances to make it to the play-offs. VoIP is still growing at twice the rate of traditional switched voice, and now accounts for 11 percent of international calls. According to TeleGeography’s latest research results, global voice traffic reached nearly 200 billion minutes in 2003, 22 billion of which was carried over the Internet. The impact of VoIP technology is greatest on routes into developing markets, where high settlement costs make VoIP a worthwhile alternative. For example, VoIP traffic to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh more than doubled in 2003. In markets like these, VoIP can account for a quarter or more of incoming calls