Third time's the charm, they say. After reading Joanna Stern's recent review of EQO, I decided to try it again. This is the third version of EQO I've tried since first meeting Bill Tam and his team at DEMO 2006, and it's pretty good. Gone are the problems with dropped data connections. It synchs well with MSN and Google Talk, although nearly 4000 contacts in my BlackBerry address broke the contact importer. It's also an acceptable multi-headed IM client for BlackBerry, which I could easily see using a fair bit.
Thursday my BlackBerry started playing an odd ringtone, which I didn't recognize at first. It was Bill calling me using EQO. Voice quality was good, although there was a slight echo (audible to me only) whenever I spoke. Unlike schemes which transfer the voice over a data connection, EQO is using the PSTN. When you make a call using EQO, it finds a local dialing number, connects you to it, and then transfers the coal to EQO's VoIP network, where it's delivered at the other end. Business model wise, EQO is disintermediating the long distance carrier, just as a calling card would, or a VoIP service like Skype or Jajah.
Net net: I had a few hiccups getting it rolling, but all in all it wasn't a bad experience. If you have one of the supported handsets, you may want to check it out.