How Much Internet Does Skype Use – Bandwidth and Data Usage

Skype has been bought by Microsoft in May 2011 for around $8.5 billion. From that time to current, there have been several changes in subscription plans, data usage policy and bandwidth requirements. Many Skype users complain that it is using too much data over mobile and internet. In order to know the reality, we have researched the web and found the “near” correct internet usage of Skype application and app.

Once you are on limited bandwidth, you are supposed to use your apps and software very resourcefully. This is because, you don’t know which app or program is consuming bandwidth. At the end of the day you may find out that your calculated bandwidth is way more than you estimated.

This generally happens with your mobile phones and smart gadgets. Though many brand OS like Android, iOS and Windows 8 come with precautionary measures to save your valuable bandwidth, its also important that one can take care of the resource hogs that give you black nightmare.

Related – [Fix] Skype and Windows 10 – Some Early Errors and Solutions

What is Skype?

Skype is a voice-over-IP Microsoft service whose (VoIP) technology can be used to text, talk and have video conversations with your friends and relatives online. It came into existence in 2003. The software was firstly developed by some Estonian developers.

skype_messaging_2013

What Skype Can do?

You can buy some credit on this service and use that to call somebody’s mobile and landline from the comfort of your home computer or laptop. But if both the caller and receiver are using Skype then you can chat, make audio and video calls for free. But you have to be careful about the bandwidth usage when using Skype, because it does not give the actual internet memory consumed during this process.

How much Bandwidth Usage does Skype consume?

According to one source in 2007, the amount of bandwidth required for a 5 minute conversation was about 2 MB. In earlier days it didn’t work swiftly with 56K dial-up modems and you needed ISDN 64K connections. Somebody posted in Yahoo Answers about Skype bandwidth usage some 2 years ago.

The satisfied answer looked something like this:

On ADSL i checked the Skype download/upload speeds :

Netlimiter shows stats of around ruffly 6kb up , 6kb down. (12kb per sec)

on average 43.2mb per hour,

The above usage estimates, is for Skype voice only.

For Skype Video The estimates figured up show about 3.4MB per minute being used during a video call. The test was done by logging the data usage before and after a 1-minute call. However, if you’ve got 2 GB to play with, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem skypeing.

Finally, I Suggest, Use Netlimiter (netlimiter.com if I recall correctly).

Later I found on another post saying that Skype adjusts itself to different forms of connections. If it’s on a speedy connection it will use more bandwidth and on a slower connection it adjusts itself to use the appropriate bandwidth.

Skype Bandwidth Requirements Skype Bandwidth Requirements – Minimum and Maximum

If you are using the latest version of Skype, you can also see, how much bandwidth is taken during a video call.  Some 4 years ago it was found that a typical voice call requires 55MB per hour and a video call takes 72 to 180 MB per hour. Since those days the network speeds were slow and people had limited bandwidth, video chat was almost impossible without interruptions.

call-technical-info-skype-bandwidth-usage

The latest reports in 2013 suggests that Skype uses 200-300mb of data (up & down combined) per hour of usage on a video call, and around 40-50mb per hour on a voice only call.

How much Data does Skype Use?

The following is the rough calculation of data usage by Skype for audio and video calls.

min – minimum , rec- recommended (or maximum)

Audio or Voice Only Calls

  • Calling (min) .22 MB/min
  • Calling (rec) .73 MB/min

Video Calls

  • Video call (min) .94 MB/min
  • Video call (rec) 2.12 MB/min
  • Video call HQ (min) 2.93 MB/min
  • Video call HQ (rec) 3.66 MB/min
  • Video Call HD (min) 8.78 MB/min
  • Video Call HD (rec) 10.98 MB/min

Max Idle bandwidth per Skype client running 1.35 GB/month (Skype running 24/7)

[Source : Skype FAQ]

The following is the rough estimate of data usage for Skype calls from/to various kinds of devices.

  1. Skype-to-Skype: 50kbps or around 3MB for one minute of calling
  2. Calls to landlines or mobile numbers: 6-20 kbps or around 1MB for one minute of calling
  3. Video calls between two mobile devices: 500kbps
  4. Video calls between a mobile device and a computer: 600kbps

What is 1 hour skype call data usage like?

This again depends on whether the call is audio or video. You can see the rest of the section, to know video data usage. But, for approximate usage at recommended rate of 100 kbps for voice only Skype calls is:

  • 0.75 MB per min
  • 7.5 MB per 10 mins
  • 22.5 MB per 30 mins
  • 45 MB per hour

But this again may vary. If you are on a send/receive communication channel, the internet plan works for both download and upload usage. So it may even come up to 90 MB per hour, if you and your friend are talking continuously on the audio call.

How much is the Skype Video Call Data usage?

It depends upon the type of resolution. There are 3 types of video calls, according to Skype – standard, high or HD (high definition). The quality of your video call is determined by Skype. This depends on various factors like quality of webcam, speed of internet connection, specification of your computer, the person you are calling etc.

skype-video-quality

So if you take the above metrics for skype data usage, the following will be the video call data usage per hour.

  • Standard Video Call – 60 MB (min), 130 MB (rec)
  • HQ (high quality) Video Call – 180 MB (min), 220 MB (rec)
  • HD (high definition) Video Call – 550 MB (min), 700 MB (rec)

The above statistics are from theoretical point-of-view. But practically speaking, if you observe different users on Skype Community forum, the case-studies look something like this.

Practical Case-Study

In Sep, 2013, the data usage per hour for a Skype video call between iPad and Macbook over Verizon LTE took around 2GB. Skype also uses too much data on Android, according to a recent post in April, 2015. Recently from March, 2015, many users complain that Skype is using double the data. This is mostly likely the case, if you consider both the upload and download bandwidth usage.

In 2015, most of the computers and webcams are powerful, so we expect a HD video call every time Skype connects to your friends. So on an average for a 1:1 call, Skype consumes around 700 MB per hour of video call. If you include both sides, it can come up to 1.5 GB. But if you are on a group call of say 7+ people, it can consume around 4 GB on one side. If you consider both send/receive communication, it can come up to 8 GB per hour. So if you are on a data plan on your mobile, your bandwidth can be consumed very quickly.

To detect skype data usage on your computer, you can use a software like Netlimiter.

What is the Average Skype Data usage for Voice over Data Calls?

In a recent investigation by “androidauthority”, it was found that Skype App consumes the most data when placing voice calls using mobiles over 4G network on Android. It consumed around 875 Kb (kilo bytes) for a 1 minute, 2-way call. Out of the list of 10 apps, Skype scored the least points in data usage.

internet usage by skype for voice over calls

This again confirms the fact, that an average 1-way voice call may take 45 MB and 1-way video call (standard quality) may take around 130 MB. If it’s a two-way call, it may take roughly double the data.

5 Comments

  1. Anthony Sodemon December 4, 2014
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