From today, customers of mobile operator 3 in the UK and Ireland will be able to use their mobile phones to call landlines and mobiles abroad at low rates using Skype.

The move applies to anyone using a Skype-enabled 3 mobile phone – including the 3 Skypephone range, Nokia N95 and Sony Ericsson C902.

Access to Skype on 3 was already free and allowed Skype-to-Skype calls and Instant Messaging, regardless of the end user’s location.

The new development now allows callers to get cheap Skype rates from their mobile phones to landlines and mobiles abroad.

Scott Durchslag, COO of Skype, said the move was an industry first that allowed 3’s clients to use their mobiles to make calls regardless of where in the world they may be and what device they are using.

Meanwhile, Skype’s desktop client continues its slow progress towards version 4.0 with a new beta release.

The changes include system-tray alerts and drag-and-drop file transfer, as well as automatic grouping of contacts for those who have too many friends to manage manually.

The move follows criticism from users after Skype issued the first beta of Skype 4.0 for Windows in June with radical design changes that put off some of the service’s over 300 million users.

Subscribe to our Newsletter