Vodafone, the U.K. telecom company, is enabling customers to make and receive phone calls via an Amazon Echo Speaker with Alexa, its digital voice assistant, built in.
According to a report in the Mirror, customers link their mobile phone number to their Alexa account and then will be able to make calls using voice command with the calls charged against their existing mobile phone plan. The report noted customers get to choose which Echo device rings and can turn off ringing anytime they want.
“This is just one more way Amazon is continuing to expand our Alexa Communication service, making it even easier for our customers to stay in touch with family and friends around the world,” said Brian Oliver, Director of Alexa Communication, according to the Mirror.
If the smartphone is lost or the battery died, customers will still be able to make phone calls through the Echo device. The service works using OneNumber, Vodafone’s service that lets customers share mobile phone data, minutes and texts with different devices including Alexa and smartwatches.
“We are of course proud to be the first to offer this service globally, but more importantly provide another easy way for our customers to stay connected,” said Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone U.K., according to the Mirror. “Vodafone U.K. customers can now tap into their mobile call allowances, doing away with their landlines, and through an integrated address book make or receive calls over Alexa devices in the home.”
The Mirror noted the new feature comes as Vodafone is gearing up to launch its 5G network. On July 3 the network will move over to 5G in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, and London. It will roll out in other cities in the UK during the summer, noted the report. It promises speedier internet and downloads then what is available today with 4G.