Monday, February 18, 2013

International phone traffic up by five per cent to 490bn minutes in 2012

International telephone traffic grew by five per cent in 2012, to 490 billion minutes, according to data from TeleGeography, a data-driven international telecommunications market research and analysis agency.
The traffic increase was mainly due to international migration, the rapid uptake of mobile phones in developing countries, and steady reductions in international call prices — especially in the form of flat-rate (and even free) calling plans.
Nevertheless, recent growth rates are well below the 13 per cent average that operators could count on to offset price declines over the past 20 years, it said, adding that while international phone traffic growth is slowing, traffic from voice and messaging applications like Skype continues to increase at a stunning pace, the report shows.
The study also estimated that cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic grew by 44 per cent in 2012, to 167 billion minutes. “The increase of nearly 51 billion minutes is more than twice that achieved by all international operators in the world, combined.”
Moreover, if Skype’s traffic were added to the volume of international phone calls, international voice traffic would have grown by 13 per cent in 2012, in line with historical trends. It suggests that although demand for cross-border communications has not declined, an ever growing number of callers have chosen to take telecoms operators out of the equation.
The pressure on carriers is expected to rise in the coming years.
The report further indicated that, while Skype is the best-known voice application, a host of alternatives, including Google (Talk and Voice), WeChat (Weixin), Viber, Nimbuzz, Line, and KakaoTalk have gained popularity.

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