Skype costing mobile operators $100m per day

Over the top (OTT) communications service Skype is estimated to be costing the telecoms industry $100m per day, or $36.5bn per year, due to the amount of data traffic the application generates. According to research published this week, Skype’s 280 million active users spend two billion minutes per day on Skype.

The findings come from research firm MobileSquared which published the report on behalf of mobile and social interaction firm Tyntec. The research also found that 43 per cent of mobile operators now believe that Skype presents a major threat to their revenues, particularly since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2011.

OTT messaging service WhatsApp has seen its user base grow by 233 per cent in the past 12 months, the research also found, and now has 300 million users globally. In that time, the number of WhatsApp messages sent each day has increased from two billion to ten billion.

The research also found that the OTT communications market is expected to be worth $53.7bn by 2017. In addition, 2.1 billion smartphone users will be using such services by the end of the next four years.

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Tyntec said that the rise of such OTT services can be attributed to the swift take up of smartphones. There is expected to be 1.6 billion smartphone users at the end of 2013 and 3.1 billion users by the end of 2017, according to the research.

While some mobile operators have set out to offer their own OTT services, this strategy appears to be losing its appeal with 21 per cent of mobile operators surveyed in 2013 claiming to be interested, down from 26 per cent in 2012.

“Mobile operators need to act now as OTT services continue to chip away at their messaging revenues. The move towards working in partnership with OTT providers instead of blocking or imposing surcharges looks like an increasingly favourable strategy,” said José Garcia, VP sales and carrier relations at Tyntec.

“Whilst it does present some threats for mobile operators, there are also lucrative opportunities to take advantage of – built on assets that operators already have in place, such as renting mobile numbers or terminating OTT traffic.”

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