Is Skype showing signs of maturity?

In the most recent quarter, Skype added 25 million new accounts, taking its total number of users to about 196 million – up 14% from the fourth quarter of 2006.

While, it is an impressive number, it was the marginal 1% increase in the Skype-to-Skype usage to around 7.7 billion minutes, that seems to be a cause of concern. Even, the SkypeOut minutes were flat too. The massive increase in the number of users should increase usage. More over, I think this could become an issue going forward. Skype has achieved incredible penetration – 196 million versus a global broadband subscriber base of close to 300 million.

Skype Journal says that at any point in time Skype’s user base is about 60% so that makes Skype’s active user base at around 118 million or about 40% of the total broadband users.

More on this slowdown from Skype Journal.

More troubling as an indicator of demand is the flattening number of Skype-to-Skype minutes. Here we have a “no charge” service, with a widely recognized, simple user interface, and with a growing number of accounts, that is largely not affected by pricing promotional plans, yet no growth in usage minutes.