The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Americans spend nearly $24 billion calling abroad

Skype Just a few decades ago, calling abroad was an expensive endeavor and not undertaken lightly.

Now, about 25% of Americans -- or 58.8 million -- make international calls regularly and shell out $23.8 billion annually to do so, according to a survey released Friday by research firm Harris Interactive.

The survey -- which polled the calling habits of 2,258 adult respondents -- reported that of those who dial abroad, 51% use a landline and 44% connect via cellphone.

And you can't forget about Skype. About a quarter of Americans who call internationally have used Skype or some other computer-based calling service, although more men (about 31%) than women (about 19%) reported calling abroad using the computer.

About 36% of Latinos and 26% of black people surveyed make international calls, more than the overall average. Latinos and black people also tend to spend more money annually on those calls and are more likely to have a smart phone with an application for international calling.

-- Shan Li

 Photo: Video chatting with Skype. Credit: David Colker / Los Angeles Times



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