In June, China Mobile quietly launched Jego as a competitor to Skype, but in the same month, the carrier abruptly suspended account registrations for the service.

There were plenty of speculations as to why China Mobile International – a Hong Kong-based global-focused China Mobile subsidiary – made such a move back then. But now, just five months after the inexplicable incident, China Mobile has relaunched Jego, as Reuters reports.

The CTO of China Mobile International, John Jiang, told Reuters that the June release of Jego was a prototype and “demand had overwhelmed the network.”

Jego is an attempt from China Mobile — the world’s largest carrier, with more than 700 million subscribers — to answer the growing usage of messaging apps like WeChatViber and Line, and Microsoft-owned Skype, with an offering of its own.

Aside from features like free calls and text chats between Jego users, Jego gives users HD video calls and the ability to call any China-based number for just $0.022 per minute. That’s cheaper than Skype, which charges $0.026 per minute on a pay-as-you-go basis, in addition to a $0.049 connection fee.

Jego 1 730x259 China Mobile relaunches Jego, its Skype competitor that offers free incoming calls overseas

We earlier reported that domestically Jego features messaging and Jego-to-Jego calling, but VoIP calling on Jego from China (if you’ve signed up with a Chinese number) to a Chinese landline or mobile phone isn’t available - due to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s restrictive impositions on VoIP calls.

However, the new version of Jego lets anyone outside of China with a smartphone and a data connection get free roaming incoming calls on a China Mobile number if you retain it and bind it with Jego for $0.99 per month. If you don’t have a China Mobile number, you can also rent one for $4.99 per month, which will let you receive unlimited free calls on Jego.

To bind your China Mobile number into Jego, all you have to do is register on Jego with your China Mobile number, and then subscribe to the service on the Jego homepage.

Jiang told Reuters that Jego users will get to save money on roaming calls, and the app will let them “communicate as if they were in China” — a hint that China Mobile is trying to retain its users even when they head overseas. As many free calling apps sprout up that also tout cheap overseas calls, China Mobile is entering the space to compete against them by offering more convenience to its existing customers.

➤ Jego | iOS | Google Play

Headline image via AFP / Getty Images

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