TeleGeography says that cross-border telephone traffic grew 14 percent in 2007 and is estimated to have grown 12 percent in 2008, to 384 billion minutes. Falling prices and rising popularity have flattened the revenues (see graph below the fold). The big bump in minutes (and the flattening of revenues) has come courtesy of Skype, the company owned by San Jose, Calif.-based eBay (s EBAY).
Skype’s cross-border traffic grew approximately 41 percent in 2008, to 33 billion minutes — equivalent to 8 percent of combined international telephone + Skype traffic. Skype uses wholesale carriers such as iBasis and Level 3 (s LVLT) for handling its network traffic. Five years after its launch, Skype is now the largest provider of cross-border voice communications in the world, Telegeography says. Or as my friend Andy Abramson would say: The world’s biggest minute stealer.