The telecoms analyst and statistic firm TeleGeography has released its latest data about international long-distance voice calls, and claimed that the VoIP company Skype now handles 8 percent of such traffic.
According to the data, released on Tuesday, standard cross-border telephone traffic reached 384 billion minutes in 2008, representing growth of 12 percent over the previous year. Skype's international traffic, however, grew 41 percent year-on-year, reaching 33 billion minutes in 2008.
Therefore, TeleGeography reasoned, Skype handled 8 percent of the 417 billion minutes of "combined international telephone + Skype traffic" during 2008.
"Skype's traffic growth has been remarkable," said TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert in a statement. "Only five years after its launch, Skype has emerged as the largest provider of cross-border voice communications in the world."
While this overall figure of 417 billion minutes appears to leave out VoIP providers that are not Skype, Skype's prevalence in the internet telephony market lends credence to TeleGeography's rough guide.
TeleGeography also pointed out that, despite Skype's generally free nature, "not all of Skype's traffic is a net loss for international carriers".
"Skype's paid-for 'Skype Out' service, which lets users make calls to standard telephones, generated 8.4 billion minutes of calls in 2008," the statement read. "Skype relies on wholesale carriers, such as iBasis and Level 3, to connect this traffic to the telephone network."