Voice-over-IP specialist Nikotel has released Mac2Phone 1.8 for OS X.

Mac2Phone 1.8 offers a number of improvements. Nikotel CEO Nikolai Manek said: "The focus was on making the software faster, user friendly and rock solid. With version 1.8, we have reached this goal. Right now we are using our own interface on a Java program, and beginning with version 2.0 we will use a native Aqua interface on Java."

The developer promises more sophistication in future releases: "Soon we will release Mac2Phone software which allows video conferencing between Macs running OS X and Macs to PCs, and vice versa."

The solution employs the emerging SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) standard. This already enjoys strong support from Microsoft, Reuters and a host of major telecoms providers.

Mac2Phone lets Mac users place calls to any phone worldwide from a Mac at rates "up to 50 per cent less than any other phone company", said Nikotel. The service is available worldwide.