China Mobile (News - Alert) International is apparently looking to extend its reach beyond the borders of its home country, not via traditional mobile coverage, but with VoIP. Specifically, the carrier launched a free mobile app called Jego about a month ago as a way to both provide its subscribers with roaming service and capture a whole new customer base. While this may seem like old news, there’s been a new development with Jego: It has expanded to Canada.
Typically, Canada isn’t seen as that important of a market due to its relatively low population, but for Jego, it is crucial, as the country has about 1.3 million Chinese citizens living within its borders. Since many new Chinese immigrants tend to keep their China Mobile phones and as such get stuck paying roaming charges to call home, Jego is ideal for the Canadian market.
Meanwhile, Jego is the perfect answer to China Mobile’s revenue woes. The carrier recently reported a decline in quarterly earnings thanks to over the top (OTT) mobile apps like WeChat. Launching its own similar service seems like an excellent way to recoup these losses.
The carrier doesn’t seem content with merely recapturing lost income, though, as China Mobile International’s chief technology officer John Jiang described the launch of Jego as the “first step to get international coverage.” Indeed, the company’s ambitions lie in taking on top VoIP players like Skype (News - Alert).
Take, for example, Jego’s business features, namely, giving its users a Chinese caller ID rather than a Canadian one, which Jiang says allows businesses to keep a local presence in China. However, the Canada China Business Council seems dubious on this feature.
Regardless, China Mobile is definitely onto something, as Canada and South East Asia are among the top markets downloading Jego currently. Since the cost of developing the app was quite low, it seems that Jego is already something of a success.