While the mobile market is already awash with companies like Skype, fring, Truphone and JarJar all promising to reduce your mobile phone bill yet another may offer the most tempting solution yet...
'EQO Communcations' (pronounced Echo) founded by two ex Nortel employees last year has announced ambitious plans to tackle the big four with a unique solution that combines network minutes and data.
Perhaps best described as Trillian for mobiles, its self titled EQO client is a free download from the company's website which merges your existing phone's contacts along with any MSN/Google Talk/Yahoo/AIM/ICQ/Jabber contacts you may have and houses them in software which will work on virtually any mobile phone.
From here all a user needs to do is log onto EQO (which uses just 1800 bytes of data) and they can call any other EQO user using just their existing bundled network minutes. The downside is the recipient of the call also uses their bundled minutes while speaking too, but it is a small caveat for free international mobile conversation.
On the other hand, should the person being called not be logged into EQO or not have the client installed the software automatically uses credit that can be purchased from the EQO website to make an EQO-out call (sound familiar?). Rates for this are extremely low with the company using the example of calls to the US which are charged at only two cents per minute.
EQO is already available for download in 40 countries with EQO-out calls functional in well over 200 more. It also offers great versatility working on any handset with Java capabilities (virtually all) with a dedicated Blackberry client launching this week and Windows Mobile and Symbian native editions due soon.
With so many companies battling to offer similar services in the mobile market I doubt whether it will prove big enough to support all of them, but I'd have a sneaky bet on EQO being one of the survivors...