More than a billion registered users, 280 million active users and 2 billion minutes a day.

These are the figures of Skype usage that concern telephone operators in 68 countries, 43% of which believe that the VoIP service provided by Microsoft represents a serious threat to their profits.

[one_half]In fact, the danger is also posed by WhatsApp, WeChat and Line, which have grown exponentially in recent months, thanks to the spread of smartphones. These are some facts obtained from a survey conducted by analyst firm MobileSquared on behalf of TynTec.[/one_half]


Skype makes up one-third of all international phone traffic.


According to the report, the value of the communications market through OTT services (Over The Top) will reach $53.7 billion in 2017, when more than 2 billion smartphone users use Skype, WhatsApp and WeChat. Every third call passes through Skype servers now, and the loss of earnings for telecom operators is approximately $100 million per day, or $36.5 billion per year.

Even the profits from SMS have declined because of WhatsApp. In past 12 months, the messaging service platform has grown by 233%, reaching 300 million active users. The numbers of sent messages in a day have increased from 2 billion to 10 billion. Additionally, the registered users of WeChat, a popular messaging client app in China have just doubled in the last six months and reached 400 million mark.

Over the years, Telephone operators have tried various strategies to hold the users and profits. They reduced additional fees and increased the services for cost, but all these attempts as well as the offers of OTT services didn’t lead to anything.

Now, the only possible solution is to sign agreements with service providers, hiring virtual phone numbers or sharing the costs of traffic.


  1. Skype and Whatsapp will continue to grow organically, however as a complement to voice services offered by phone companies. At least in the foreseeable future.

    Today, OTT companies are able to offer something that substitutes a regular call or text. However, calls to special numbers (911/112, short numbers, premium numbers, shared cost numbers, premium numbers, etc) cannot be made using OTT providers.

    There are two scenario’s :
    – Either local telecommunication regulators are going to oblige OTTs to start offering access to (at least part of) the local special numbers (ex. 911). In this case, a lot of OTTs will get into trouble. This scenario is likely because a lot of telco see a lot of business lost to OTTs who have a lot less obligations than they have.
    – Either regulators remain “relaxed” to stimulate competition, in which case special numbers will no longer exist (services such as directory services will only be available online) in 5-10 years as they are not available on OTT networks. In this case a solution for 112/911 needs to be found as today implementing 112 globally is not an easy task for an OTT.

    I give it 50/50 chance for either of the above scenario.


    Dries Plasman (VP marketing and product management at Voxbone)


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