Skype breaks records, traffic grows by 44 percent

Microsoft's call app increased its traffic in 2012 by twice the amount of all international phone carriers combined -- it's calls are now equal to one third of all global phone traffic.

TeleGeography

Microsoft's Skype is making some serious headway into the international phone traffic scene. New data (PDF) from telecom market research firm TeleGeography shows that Skype broke records in 2012 by hosting the same amount of calls as one third of the world's phone traffic.

International phone traffic typically grows slowly, for example in 2012 it increased by 5 percent to 490 billion minutes. However, voice and messaging call apps are growing at a breakneck pace. Skype voice and video traffic grew 44 percent to 167 billion minutes in 2012. This increase is more than twice that of all international carriers combined.

According to TeleGeography, if Skype's traffic were included in the numbers for international phone traffic, there would have been 13 percent growth in 2012, rather than just 5 percent. This type of surge seems like it would make some carriers fear for their wallets.

"The pressure on carriers will continue to mount in the coming years," TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert said in a statement. "While Skype is the best-known voice application, it's far from the only challenger to the PSTN. Google (Talk and Voice), WeChat (Weixin), Viber, Nimbuzz, Line, and KakaoTalk have also become popular. And, perhaps most ominously for telcos, Facebook recently added a free voice calling feature to its Messenger application."

The Skype team rolled out two new updates for Windows and Mac yesterday, both labeled as version 6.2. The updates include "eGifting," or the ability to send Skype credits to friends, which the recipients can use anytime.

About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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