Until 2015, international carrier voice traffic had increased in each of the previous 60 years.
But for 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 for our freshly-updated TeleGeography Report and Database, three major pricing 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 $70 billion in 2018.
- Retail prices were essentially unchanged in 2018, 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 9% in 2019.
- At current run rates, international service revenues will fall to $50 billion by 2024. If that trend holds true, revenues will have declined by nearly half of the $99 billion total in the 10 years after 2012.