China Mobile launches app to rival Skype

China Mobile launches app to rival Skype

Summary: World largest telco by subscriber develops app which enables overseas customers to make free or low cost calls to mobile phones and landlines, with rates lower than Skype.

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China Mobile has developed a mobile app, Jego, to challenge rivals such as Microsoft's Skype service.

According to China Daily on Wednesday, the app targets mainly overseas customers, allowing them to make free or low-cost calls to mobile phones and landlines. This also puts it against competition like OTT messaging and call services Viber, WeChat and Line.

Jego launched on June 1, 2013, and can be used on mobile devices running on iOS and Android platforms.

china-mobile-launches-app-to-rival-skype
(Source: Jego, China Mobile)

Other from the usual features such as free calls and text chats between Jego users, it offers HD video calls and the ability to ring up any China-based number for just US$0.022 per minute. This is cheaper than Skype, which charges US$0.026 per minute on a pay-as-you-go basis, in addition to a US$0.049 connection fee.

Jego also offers unlimited calls to China for US$15.99 per month, or Hong Kong for US$11.79 per month, while Skpye costs $16.09 per month, although it allows for unlimited calls to all regions of the world.

Derick Li, China Mobile International business development manager, said in a separate report on The Next Web, Jego targets international users, namely anyone that needs to stay in touch with friends and family in China. Jego is first and foremost, a competitor to Skype, Li said.

How Jego claims to differentiates itself is partly via two value added services: China Mobile subscribers can log in with their numbers without the need for a SIM card, and existing China Mobile numbers can be tied to the app.

According to The Next Web, Jego offers VoIP calling to landlines and mobile phones to the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Korea, and other countries. Domestic VoIP calls are not offered due to China's tight regulations over them.

China Mobile has been posting largely flat growth in terms of net profit, with its Q1 2013 earnings released April rising 0.3 percent to 27.9 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion).

Topics: Apps, Mobility, Networking, Telcos, China

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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3 comments
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  • Userbase, not pricing/technology, is the challenge

    Good to see another competitor to Skype.

    But i do not think that pricing is the challenge here. Even today more than 90% of skype users are those who connect from computer to computer (including other handheld devices) over wi-fi thereby connecting free of cost. So the real challenge is to get the right size of userbase who are willing to come on a new platform.

    This is the same challenge which any other social network faces when competing with Facebook.

    My company, Endeavour Software which is into Mobile Application Development developed a competitive social platform to Facebook with many advanced features which are till date not there in FB but the challenge has been to move users from FB.

    So today technology is no more a differentiator.
    mobilitycompany
  • Skype pricing...

    I don't think the price of Skype was ever a factor. And, that hasn't changed. What does this startup propose over and above the free, world leader?
    TechNickle
    • to strip it of it's leadership

      Skype sucked, sucks and will suck as long as it is a "leader"
      The main activity even before it was appropriated by MS was to lock users in as tightly as possible. Skype uses its own proprietary protocol, different from the standard and open sip. Constant changes are made to it to prevent users from loosening the locked ecosystem. The skype clients suck as a consequences. Shame on both skype devs and Microsoft that they are still unable to offer a true x64 bit version of the program, at least for Linux. You can't use other sip providers on skype.

      As far as this new Chinese service is concerned, yes competition is good, though I don't see any mentioning of the sip protocol.
      I'd actually recommend the following sip clients (and sip services): linphone.org (available for most platforms) and ekiga.org As far as the voip is concerned, the British voipcheap.com remains one of the cheapest in the industry. You can set it up with any sip client. I use it from my linphone and ekiga clients. (China rates are lower than the jego's offer: voipcheap.com/rates).
      eulampius