International Skype calls grew by half in 2012

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International calls via Skype reached 167 billion minutes in 2012

International calls made with Skype last year topped 167 billion minutes - growth of 44% compared to 2011, according to a report by marketing research company TeleGeography.

TeleGeography notes Skype’s rocketing amount of international traffic includes both voice and video calls, and says Skype’s growth rate is more than double that shown by every international telecoms company in the world.

"While demand for cross-border communications has not declined, hundreds of millions of consumers have discovered that they can communicate without the service of a telco," said the company. "Increasingly, callers are turning to software-based communications applications."

The report adds that "while [Skype] is now long past its start-up phase, its traffic growth remains astonishing".

International phone calls made the old-fashioned way grew in 2012 at around 9%, which TeleGeography notes falls short of the double-figures growth of a decade ago.

The company estimates adding Skype’s growth to the figure would show international call traffic increasing at 13% in 2012. It also notes that "not all of Skype’s traffic represents a loss for [traditional] telcos," as over 40% of Skype’s traffic is video calls, and therefore not a "direct replacement" for a phone call.

Still, "it’s difficult not to conclude that at least some of Skype’s growth is coming at the expense of traditional carriers".

Skype’s growth looks set to continue following its acquisition by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5bn (about £5.2bn), as Microsoft will shutter its Messenger instant messaging service, migrating yet more users to the 280-million-strong Skype.

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