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China mobile's Jego VoIP service offers free calls and rents Honkers phone numbers

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Look out Skype; China Mobile has launched a new VoIP service in a bid to snag international users making or receiving calls from the People’s Republic.

Launched by China Mobile International, the Hong Kong based subsidiary of the world’s largest operator, Jego is available free of charge to iOS and Android users.

Any user outside China with a China Mobile number can take advantage of free incoming calls with the app for $0.99 a month, while those without will need to hire a number for $4.99 to get the same deal.

If they prefer, users can rent a Hong Kong number for US$2.99 a month, the firm said.

China Mobile International added that “low cost” international calls to over 200 countries are also possible, although it didn’t specify exactly how low.

Jego to Jego voice and video calls and texts are free of charge.

The new service could appeal to business travellers with links to the Middle Kingdom, as well as the sizeable Chinese diaspora spread out across the globe.

It’s a potentially risky endeavour, considering a large part of the operator’s revenue is still derived from voice calls, although if any mobile player can afford it it's China Mobile, which pulled in net profits of 129 billion yuan (£13bn) last year.

“Allowing users to rent and bind Chinese numbers anywhere in the world is just the beginning,” claimed China Mobile International CTO John Jiang in a statement.

“China Mobile is building a Jego Alliance of mobile and fixed line operators around the world to allow Jego users to rent or bind multiple numbers from different countries. This means that expensive IDD and roaming services become a thing of the past, realising China Mobile’s vision of ‘Communications without Borders’.” ®

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