When a crappy economy meets VoIP, cheaper IP telecommunications win, according to research out today from TeleGeography showing that Skype is taking market share from the international calling market. TeleGeography found that the projected growth of international telephone traffic was almost halved in 2009 — to a mere 8 percent — while Skype’s growth accelerated by 51 percent.
TeleGeography also notes that over the past 25 years, international call volume from telephones has grown at a compounded annual rate of 15 percent. In the past two years, however, international telephone traffic growth has slowed to only 8 percent on an annual basis, growing to an estimated 406 billion minutes in 2009 from 376 billion minutes in 2008.
Skype’s on-net international traffic (between two Skype users) is projected to grow 63 percent in 2009, to 54 billion minutes. In comparison, the Skype-to-Skype traffic grew 51 percent in 2008.
This increase is the effect of a sharp increase in the number of Skype users. At the end of 2008, Skype had 405 million registered users. Since then the company has passed the 525 million user-mark. At any given time there are more than 20 million people making calls using logged onto the Skype service, the company claims. Those calls are free as opposed to services where one Skype user calls a landline, which are still cheaper than rates provided by the telecommunications companies.
Skype is still the largest long distance phone company in the world. And as VoIP grows both on the computer and on mobile devices, thanks to an ever-increasing number of VoIP apps for mobile phones, international carriers are going to find yet another source of profits eroded.