China Mobile has suspended new registrations for Jego, the operator's OTT messaging and calling app, less than a month after its launch.
The operator launched Jego late last month, as its answer to the threat to its traditional mobile revenues posed by OTT rivals including WeChat and Skype.
The iOS and Android app offers services including free VoIP, text messaging and video calling, and targets international rather than domestic users.
But China Mobile International has now announced it will temporarily suspend all new users registrations. The operator will also disable video and voice calling capabilities for users which registered for the service with a mainland Chinese phone number.
The announcement states that the Jego service is “still in the optimization stage,” implying that the suspension of new sign-ups and domestic capabilities was motivated by technical hiccups during the launch phase.
But South China Morning Post's Doug Young yesterday wrote, citing a company source, that the decision may instead have been caused by internal tensions within the company's management over the future of the service.
Some company leaders are worried that rather than helping China Mobile compete with OTT players, the service could cannibalize the operator's SMS and other revenues, Young said.
Coming off the back of China Mobile's decision to team with Vodafone to bid on a Myanmar mobile license, only to withdraw from the race before submitting a final bid, Young said this indicates that there is dysfunction within the decision-making segment of the company.