China Mobile launches app to rival Skype

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.

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.

(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).