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Jego App Provides VoIP Calling To and From China
China Mobile Ltd. is challenging Skype (News - Alert) with a new VoIP service called Jego. This app is targeted at overseas customers, and offers low-cost calls to both mobile phones and landlines from iOS and Android (News - Alert) devices.
Customers in China have already taken to VoIP services for their long-distance calling needs, as the price of making those calls from a phone can be outrageous. As such, there is already a demand and a market, but Jego will have to draw potential customers away from their current services.
Still, there is a great opportunity for Chinese telecom carriers to enter the market, thanks to the vast number of users available, and the strong networks at their disposal. As it is cheaper than Skype’s pay-as-you-go calls to China ($.022 per minute, rather than $.026 plus a five cent connection fee), China Mobile (News - Alert) feels it has a great chance at taking the market. It also offers unlimited calling to the mainland for just under $16 a month, or to Hong Kong for under $12.
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Jego is mainly targeted at international users who need to contact friends and family within China, and vice-versa, but it cannot work when someone living in China calls someone who is also in China. That restriction is due to a restriction on VoIP calls by Chinese authorities. As long as that is in place, Jego users who sign up with a Chinese phone number cannot call a Chinese landline or mobile phone with it, limiting them to messaging and Jego-to-Jego calling services.
Along with its calling services, Jego offers free text messaging and features such as push-to-talk voice messages, photo sharing, video calling, and multimedia sharing. This puts it in a position to compete with Skype when it comes to services available as well as price, putting it in a nice competitive position.
While the inability to call phones from Jego within China is a bit of a drawback, that is the doing of the government, and can’t be held against Jego. While I have no reference from which to speak for the app’s quality, its pricing and features put it in a nice position to take over Skype’s role within China, assuming it takes off and draws in enough customers. It’s still small, and may not affect China Mobile’s profits that much, but it’s still a good move nonetheless.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson