Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Skype - billions and billions served

A few weeks back I posted on Skype's website redesign and noted that they seem to be making a tongue-in-cheek reference to fast food culture with the "minutes served" counter (http://eurotelcoblog.blogspot.com/2004/09/daiwa-eurotelcoblog-no_109519552619085606.html). That was 14th September, 35 days ago, and the ticker stood at 1.5bn minutes. Today it has just rolled over 2bn minutes a matter of minutes ago. That suggests something like 14m minutes per day (this doesn't include SkypeOut minutes).

To put this in perspective, in the most recent quarter for which we have regulator data, the UK fixed telephony market generated 1.65bn minutes of outgoing international traffic, or around 18m minutes per day. However, that traffic was spread over 34m active PSTN lines, rather than the more limited number of Skype users (I presently see 969,000 users online). Skype usage is undoubtedly much more intensive, rather than mere voice minute replacement, and appears to be accelerating. It took a year to reach 1.5bn minutes, and only five weeks to add another 500m minutes. How can any self-respecting telco look at these stats and say that the VoIP story is blown out of proportion?

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