by Carlo Longino

How Many Users Does Skype Really Have?

from the murky-at-best dept

When eBay released its latest quarterly earnings, we noted that the revenue growth it reported for Skype was misleading, since the percentage growth figure was based on a previous quarter that only contained 78 days' worth of revenue. Skype today says it's passed the 100 million user mark, meaning that 100 million usernames have been registered. But several people are wondering just what this really means, and how many users Skype really has. Skype and eBay aren't very upfront about it, saying that the service sees about 6 million users at peak times, with the only indication of how many paid users the service has came back during its auction-via-media in July, when it came out it had just 1.7 million paid users out of 45 million registered at the time. Without a clear representation of how many active users the service has and how many of them are actually paying customers, it's pretty difficult to discern how the business is really doing, and if there's enough substance underneath to back up all the hype.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Ro, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:16am


    So... are you saying 1.7 million paying customers is a bad thing (what other VOIP application do you know of that has 1.7 million paid customers or 6 million concurrent customers)? Or that 100MM registered users as a front-end funnel is a negative? You're reaching here Carlo...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    JakeOfMilwaukee, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    Loller missing the point . . .

    He's not saying that any of the reported numbers are bad or negative or even unimpressive. The point here is that Skype is being confusing and misleading in reporting data that is important in analyzing their performance and growth. If they feel the need to mislead people, that's usually a good indicator that they don't feel too good about where they are right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    km, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    No a correct user number

    so... you think skype really 100 milions user... i think the number is created by skype company. only them know how many active user only is using their software ???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Jasen, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:47am

    I recently became a paying

    Basic phone at home for DSL. Was going to go with Vonage, but didn't think I was going to use the service all that much. Cell phone is primary number, so the pay as you go model worked good in my situation. Make continental calls every now and then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Biker John, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    I skyped my knee when I fell off my bike :( My bike is ok though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    A Funny Guy / The Poison Pen, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:52am


    Amazing service and very versitile. Just become a paid user yesterday as a matter of fact. I have tested this service on 56k dialup and it works great in my area even with a low level company like peoplePC. Of course it sounds a little better over my broadband connection, but it is perfectly usable on a dialup connection if your not doing anything else to use bandwidth. The hype dosn't attract me to products, the quality does. This product has the quality to make it if management does not get greedy or screw the concept up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Ro, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 9:59am

    This is from the post "it's pretty difficult to discern how the business is really doing". Carlo is making a statement on the business. Again, I think a P2P VOIP provider with 1.7M paying customers and 6M concurrent customers is a pretty clear indication that the business is doing well.

    Revenue was over $35M for the quarter. Assuming no growth that would be over $120M in annualized run rate... except that growth was 23% sequentially quarter over quarter, so $200M in revenue is realizable. This is from a base of $50-60MM in 2005. Again, how is this not clear that the business is doing well? How many businesses reach $200M in revenue in 2 years...?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Michael, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Great service...

    I use Skype for international calls and for PC to PC communication with friends, and I'm really happy with the service.. Voice quality is very good too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Just Another Joe, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 10:11am


    Again you are missing the point here. The point Carlo is trying to convey is, companies should be up-front when reporting financial statistics that investors use to decide on investments. When a company issues misleading or unrealiable data, investors have the potential to make crappy decsicions (not that they don't do that enough all by themselvs).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    TherWeb20Dev, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 10:47am


    Skype is a great tool, but Carlo is right they do need to be more forthcoming with their statistics for investors

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Ro, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 11:08am

    I'll leave it at this. 100MM registered users is a marketing mechanism to generate excitement and further interest from other users. Given Skype has already been acquired and is now part of a public company, investors now have access to Skype's revenue and paid user base. Any company that doesn't market their accomplishments isn't doing shareholders any favors either...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Smut101, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 11:09am

    Who Cares

    Who Cares? Mind your own buisness carlo

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Duane Nickull, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 11:34am

    6-12% is about average

    In the Telco industry, most telco's have a similar average. For instance, if they have 100 subscribers, they actually only have bandwidth to support about 17% maximum of those subscribers at peak times, being approximately 5 times the multiple of "normal" traffic. If Skype had 100 million users, using the same metric, during normal operating times about 20% of 17% would be using it. This equates to around 3.5 million using it at any one time. I am not sure what the metric is for online, vs. using skype however given that the telco has 100% of ther suscribers connected, albeit doing nothing until they get a call.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Nobby, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 2:18pm


    What's a skype and where can I get one. Is it sorta like a snark?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    RK, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 10:32pm

    Just wait-n-watch


    Just wait and watch how Skype phenomenon catches up around the world. They would be having close to 200 million users by the end of 2006. Stop being pessimistic about the technology, otherwise you would have missed the boat and it will be too late bythe time you realize that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Brian, Apr 29th, 2006 @ 8:29am

    Re: Great service...

    Users out there: How is the Skype service as regards faxing? We tried Champion (now NexBoom - a silly name if there ever was one), and had large problems with trying to fax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    SMc, May 3rd, 2006 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Yo Yo's like Carlo have more of a negative effect for us current stockholders. The company is solid and making money. The stock price is suffering because of so called anal-lyst.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Matt, May 25th, 2006 @ 9:39am

    The Real point

    Skype is doing fine as a business. 100 Million users doesn't mean jack-squat. It's one of those usless facts because some people register then never use it. In fact I'll admit that I was one of those users that heard about it when it first came out, looked at it, and didn't look at it again until 7 months ago.

    1.7 million paid users is an excellent indicator of the company's well-being, keeping in mind that that number is sure to have increased if not doubled. Also having 6 million active users at any given time is also another excellent sign.

    Carlo, if you're going to post something like that, post it in a forum, not in a news column. You opinion is clearly uninformed and overall not seasoned at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    sean, Jun 7th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    How many customers for other voip company like wengo?
    Who knows?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    giselle, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 12:51am

    skype hype

    I just did a search on Skype for users...and found only about 25 in San Francisco! I was stunned to find only a dozen or so in cities in the middle of the Silicon Valley, like Palo Alto. Several of my friends have Skype, so I thought it was prevalent -- but given that my friends are all major geeks and/or employees of Google, Apple, Adobe, Ebay, etc...this is probably not an accurate sample. Anyway, if you want to check out how active Skype is, the information is right there...in their search capability. It's a fantastic service, but I don't think they've done nearly enough marketing to get it to catch on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    whits, Apr 30th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    just wanted to say i LOVE SKYPE

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    lamapper, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:48pm

    between 8 and 18 million at least every minute....

    I have been a happy user of Skype for over three years. Based on the usage numbers that I haphazardly track; there are always between 8 million and 19 million users online at any given time. How many of those are paid members I could not guess.

    During peak times I consistently see between 15 and 18 million users. During off peak times I see between 8 and 9 million users. I had to go back to January of 2008 to see numbers under 6 million, even the peaks back then were over 14 million.

    I would call that impressive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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