Until 2015, international carrier voice traffic had increased in each of the previous 60 years.
In each of the past four years, paid call volumes have slumped, with no end in sight. International carriers had already suffered from revenue stagnation due to slow traffic growth and falling prices.
The unprecedented occasion of outright traffic decline, however, marked a new and depressing turning point. In reviewing developments from the past year, three major trends stand out.
- Retail international call revenues peaked in 2012 and have been on the decline ever since. Retail revenues have decreased from $99 billion in 2012 to $64 billion in 2019.
- Retail prices were essentially unchanged in 2019, at about $0.15 per minute. Unfortunately, we anticipate that traffic loss will overwhelm this recent price stabilization, and that revenues will decline by a forecasted 8% in 2020.
- At current run rates, international service revenues will fall to $50 billion by 2023. If that trend holds true, revenues will have declined by nearly half of the $99 billion total in the ten years after 2012.
The Cost of Calls
Global Retail Revenues from International Calls
Anahí is a Senior Analyst at TeleGeography. As part of the infrastructure team, she heads the Global Internet Geography research service. Her regional focus is on Latin America and the Caribbean.