Internet calls said to be double that made over fixed line as consumers banish traditional telco services.
Skype, the largest provider of Internet calls, has projected 45 billion minutes of net calls were made last year alone – double that of all phone companies’ volumes globally.
The company has also just announced group video calling at their CES 2011 exhibition, as part of their new Premium offering which brings together groups of three or more on a single video call, costing $5.49 per day or $9.99 per month.
Since 2005, Skype minutes has accelerated over 900 percent, from 5 billion to the current projected figure for 2010, as callers made the change from phone line to broadband, both in business and at the home.
The provider’s market share of free Skype to Skype and PSTN voice calls now looks set to hit the 25 percent mark, compared to 12 per cent last year.
International phone traffic was up overall around 4 percent for 2010, although this pales in comparison to growth figures in the region of 15 percent for previous years.
Aside from the popularity of internet voice and video calls, this easing in traffic is also attributed to the GFC, which affected business demand for international communications and consumers’ ability to pay for calls.
“Demand for international communications remains strong,” notes TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert.
“But ever more people are discovering that they can communicate without the services of a telco.”
In Australia, internet calling could see further growth as the national broadband network is installed in rural locations, previously denied reliable connections.
Skype have not released any specific figures on Australian user numbers, although 25 million users are said to be logged in at any one time around the world and there were 145 million Skype users on average per month in the close of 2010.
On the first day of the release of Skype’s iPhone app with video, it was downloaded approximately 4.2 million times.