International Skype-to-Skype traffic grew 44 percent in 2012 to 167 billion minutes, which is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined, according to new research from TeleGeography.
The data reinforces the pressure that continues to mount against carriers as they compete with inexpensive and accessible alternatives like Skype and Google. While demand for international telephone traffic increases, it has shifted to online applications, and increasingly, carriers are being cut out of the equation.
“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—have contributed to traffic increases,” the report says. “Nevertheless, recent growth rates are well below the 13 percent average that carriers could count on to offset price declines over much of the past 20 years.”
The research validates the case for offering hosted VoIP services, and while its focus is on Skype’s growth in particular, it is implied that other VoIP services are also growing. With remote workers and branch offices, organizations of all sizes turn to VoIP services. In 2012, a study published by Insight Research found that SMBs dominated the VoIP landscape in the US, accounting for 41 million of the total market size of business telephone lines of 72 million.
Microsoft acquired Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 billion, and since then has integrated it into Microsoft Outlook, and started phasing out its Live Messenger in favor of Skype.
In 2010, Skype launched a channel partner program for VARs and systems integrators in the US, a program that was killed when Microsoft took over. While there is no official roadmap for Microsoft channel partners to resell Skype, it would make a lot of sense given its fit with Microsoft Lync.
In an in-depth look at the Skype acquisition and its potential for Microsoft’s channel partners back in 2011, a Microsoft channel partner and cloud provider said that while “customers want to buy [Skype], they have fear, uncertainty and doubt, they need handholding and management, so it will be the channel partner’s job to get Skype into their customers.”
Talk back: What kind of VoIP service do you offer to your customers? Would you be interested in reselling Skype if it was an option? Let us know in a comment.