International Skype calls hurt telcos

So many people are using VoIP service Skype to make international long distance calls that traditional carriers are suffering, research suggests.

A report by TeleGeography says that the growth of international telephone traffic has slowed, while Skype’s growth has accelerated.

Over the past 25 years, international call volume from telephones has grown at a compound annual rate of 15 per cent. But, over the past two years international traffic growth has slowed to eight per cent tear on year, growing from 376 billion minutes in 2008 to an estimated 406 billion minutes in 2009. Meanwhile, Skype’s international traffic grew 51 per cent in 2008, and is projected to grow by 63 per cent in 2009.

Skype callers apparently wittered away for some an estimated 54 billion minutes on international calls during the 2009.

Stephan Beckert, an analyst with TeleGeography said: "Skype is now the largest provider of cross-border communications in the world, by far.”

Skype’s popularity was reported at a new high in October last year, with over 520 million users worldwide. Since Skype calls are free to the user, however, its revenues are no-where near those of the likes of AT&T. The company says it's working on that.