U.S. smartphone users spend $37.8B annually on international calls, says Rebtel

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While consumers are flocking to services like Skype to chat with friends and family internationally for free, there’s still a huge market for international calling, according to the latest survey sponsored by the voice-over-IP company Rebtel.

Among U.S. adults who own a smartphone, 21 percent (around 20 million people) say they make international calls, and they end up spending around $37.8 billion every year, the survey finds.

On average, smartphone owners who call internationally spend $156 a month doing so (women spend $267.10 on international calls every month, compared to just $85.50 for men). There’s no breakdown on if people are spending more in VoIP apps on international calls than their standard calling plan, but the real takeaway is  there’s still plenty of demand for traditional international calling.

Not everyone has a PC, smartphone, or tablet to get free Skype to Skype calls, after all. Even with Skype, you have to pay to call a standard international telephone number. Ultimately, the survey show’s there’s huge potential for companies that cater to international callers.

The survey was conducted online by the market research firm Harris Interactive based on responses from 2,211 adults over 18 (notably, participants weren’t randomly selected, so we can only read so much into their findings).

Other interesting findings: 35 percent of American adults who own a tablet and smartphone say they use VoIP apps for international calls; 29 percent of women expected to spend more on their cellphone bills this year, compared to 9 percent of men; and Hispanic Americans spent less than African Americans on international calls ($144 compared to $206).

Airport phone call photo via Shutterstock

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