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A new mobile broadband-enabled handset enabling users to make calls over the internet using Skype is due for release this week.

The Skypephone handset is the first of its kind to be manufactured specifically for Skype calls and has been developed by telecommunications giant 3 in conjunction with internet communications firm Skype.

Users will be able to make free calls via the internet on the handset and will be able to access 3's internet services.

Skypephone is scheduled to be available to buy in UK stores as of Friday and will be followed by launches across Europe.

John Delaney, principal analyst at telecoms consultancy Ovum, told the Associated Press: "We think 3 might have something of a hit with the Skypephone. The package is attractive, and the cost of acquiring it is low."

Skype has around 246 million registered users worldwide.

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