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Skype Two Million Reasons +

Skype broke the 2 million active user concurrently online for the first time today. Concurrently I tracked call minutes off the Skype site. Just over 3 million minutes were recorded in an hour. Two numbers that encourage crude Skype maths.

My conclusion again... numbers confirm "communications behavior" is being radically changed. Concurrently every Skyper wants a better headset, handsfree or a cordless handset. They also know the value of these new "minutes" and will spend to make them "better". Confirming while free; users do value them.

Jump to possible conclusion. Mobile operators will have to merge "mobile" with Skype in order to retain "loyalty" to their networks. They can't provide that based on the "usage" profile of Skype adopters. They also can't address the global nature of the calls. Skypers want mobility make no mistake. Mobile operators are going to have to address "SkypeIn".Give me my mobile number for Skype!

Skype Maths:
Three million minutes when 2 million Skyper were online, time one hour. Thus 1.5 minutes called per Skyper. Multiply X 24 hours. Thus approx 30 minutes talking for this hypothetical Skyper. However most Skypers aren't on for 24 hours. So assuming the average online status time is 12 hours then the average daily call time is twice the thirty minutes.

Thus the average Skyper has a relationship of one hour per day with Skype. I should point out that so far these are all averages. So we have many Skypers using it much more... and some much less. Still if we do the 80/20 thing we judge 800k users (20% of 4m probably low) are doing some 3.5 hours on Skype per day. It's simply a mind boggling number to me. While the same number would generate some 8 minutes for everyone else. Still it is those "heavy users" that are "in" the new communications landscape.

Back to the average. At 500 minutes per week we are looking at 2000 minutes per month for the average. Looking at US mobile plans 500 minutes person per month (still a big plan!) is probably the individual comparison plan.

So we have the Skype plan at 2000 minutes. Could Skype behavior be too much for the mobile operators to handle? All this in a few months and we are not even near "always-on".

Skype Minutes:
10/22/2003 100000 concurrent users online
10/25/2004 1 million concurrent users online
02/14/2005 2 million concurrent users online
10/25/2005 ???? 8 million? concurrent users online


  • Makes Skype minutes more important than mobile minutes.
  • Check minutes and update with a refresh at www.skype.com.
  • You can also track "seconds" per call via the Skype API. A little program SkypeTools can demonstrate this to you.
  • While I think Skype only gets minutes when you log off and on it could be notified using another method.
  • Expect that even those with just a few buddies probably use it for some very long and formerly expensive calls.

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    » Skype Math Anxiety from Aswath Weblog
    Yesterday Stuart did a simple arithmetic on Skype usage to ask (rhetorically) whether mobile operators can keep up with Skype usage. This note is not related to that question specific, but an attempt to understand the arithmetic.... [Read More]

    » 40m Minutes Per Day from Skype Journal
    More on the statistics front. Now James has a go. When we last looked at minutes (Two Million Reasons) on the 14 of February, just 10 days ago the daily run rate was approximately 36m per day. So one new add is that skype is currently growing at 400k m... [Read More]

    Comments (2)

    Aswath, (Posted on your blog too)
    Good point re potential to double count. I kept tracking the minutes for the 24 hour period. Call it 36 million for the day. I'm not sure where you get the 1 million calls going on.

    In Skype the "users online number" is those that are logged in. Thus it isn't representative of the number of active users or current active calls from what I understand. It's a Kazaa like number.. people on the network. There are dialups and other reasons to log off. Thus the lower the number participating daily the higher the average call time. The on twelve hours is probably conservative..(too long) but then is just a guess. Let's assume it is actually six million users using Skype per day. then the average call time is 6 minutes per hour for 24 hours. That provides a number that is close to two hours unless we are double counting then we are back to an hour which is easier to digest.

    Probably means the number logging on is twice the six million. Thus we would still be looking at an average call time per day of well over 30 minutes.

    That's where the numbers again become weird. We hear Skype has some 24 million registered users. That doesn't mean active only means they downloaded it and created a profile. Some of these profiles are no doubt double counted users with multiple profiles. The 70 million download number is just bogus and meaningless. Provide a new rev and get more downloads.

    So by which ever measure or logic... Skype users (a hypothectical average, the heavy users will go hours) are running up a thousand minutes per month. I suspect it is much higher. So how can mobile operators create a package that enables you and me average to do an additional 1000 minutes or more per month for free?

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