The number of minutes customers spent on international calls grew by 5% during 2012, to 490 billion minutes, according to new figures from market research firm TeleGeography.
However, telcos are facing increasing pressure from VoIP providers, with cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic growing by 44% 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.
If Skype’s traffic is added to the volume of international phone calls, international voice traffic would have grown by 13% in 2012, with Skype accounting for a quarter of all international call minutes worldwide.
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“The pressure on carriers will continue to mount in the coming years,” says TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert.
“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.”