Skype is considered to be the best VOIP service. Microsoft purchased Skype back in May 2011 for $8.5 billion, and it was perhaps the best acquisition Microsoft did in past few years. Skype has become a household name over the past few years. They have great pricing plans and according to a new report from TeleGeography, Skype accounted for about 33% of international telephony traffic in 2012!
The international telephone traffic grew at 5% last year to 490 billion minutes, the reports notes that “cross-border Skype-to-Skype voice and video traffic grew 44 percent 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.”
Apart from traditional carriers, Skype has to face a lot of competition from other VOIP services including Google Voice, Whatsapp and others. Skype-to-Skype voice, video calls and IMs are free and you can call landlines and mobile phones at a reasonable cost which is substantially lesser than what traditional telcos charge.
“The pressure on carriers will continue to mount in the coming years,” said 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.”
If skype and other such services weren’t there, all the traffic would have been carried by traditional telcos, but that isn’t happening and a large chunk of traffic is being carried by VOIP based services. Another interesting statistic is that if you add Skype’s volume of international calls carried by traditional telcos yields to an annual growth figure of 12%, which is in agreement with the growth figures of the past. From that, we can conclude that the amount of international calling hasn’t risen substantially, but people have moved on to other services such as skype, which are relatively easier on the pocket.
The reason why Skype is so popular because it is a cross platform service. It is available in the form of app on all the major platforms and according to the recent blog post from Skype, BlackBerry 10 users will be able to download and install skype on their BlackBerry Z10’s very soon.
Also, Skype has been rolling out a beta feature called Video Messages to its smartphone users. Basically, you can send a video message to your Skype contact, and the message can be 3 minute long. For some reason, video messages cannot be sent or received from skype client for Windows Phone or Windows 8, which is a bizarre move as Skype is owned by Microsoft and they should be supporting their products first. Anyways, the reason behind that move isn’t clear yet.
Skype is definitely doing justice to the VOIP world. What are your thoughts on Skype? What improvements would you like to see in Skype? Let us know in the comment section below.