Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
We got the low-down on Jego, the Skype rival from China Mobile, last week and now the app has quietly surfaced on Apple’s App Store and Google Play where it can be downloaded for free.
As we explained last week, 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 WeChat, Viber and Line, and of course Microsoft-owned Skype, with an offering of its own.
Aside from regular features like free calls and text chats between Jego users, the stand-out features are 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.
Furthermore, Jego offers unlimited calling to China for $15.99 per month, or Hong Kong for $11.79 per month. That’s superior to the equivalent from Skype, which costs $16.09 per month, although allows for unlimited calls to all regions of the world.
Targeted at users worldwide — though initially focused on those with ties to China — Jego grants international users the option of registering their own China Mobile number without a SIM card. Domestic users with a China Mobile number can revert all calls to Jego when they go overseas to save on the cost of roaming.
What’s particularly interesting is the fact that Jego homepage makes very little mention of China Mobile at all. That, combined with the vibrant colors and branding, is a fairly clear effort to remain ‘cool’, ‘hip’ and appealing to youngsters who are quite at home using new and upcoming services, like WeChat.
This launch is just the beginning for Jego, as we wrote last week:
The next stage in its development will be the addition of local mobile phone numbers from Southeast Asian countries, and eventually Western countries, China Mobile says. The operator plans to continually work to add to its network of PoP sites thanks to relationships with regional telecom companies around the world.
If you’re in China or have ties to the country, you’ll be wanting to check the app out via the links below.
➤ Jego | App Store | Google Play
Headline image via AFP / Getty Images
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