Amazon Unveils Free Phone Calls via Echo

Amazon Unveils Free Phone Calls via Echo
Amazon has introduced an extended calling feature to its Echo devices, allowing owners to make calls to non-Echo users.

(CCM) — North American Amazon Echo users can now use their speakers to make calls to mobile and landline telephones. Previously, calls were possible via the Echo, but this capability was reserved for calls between two Echo devices. However, along with last week's unveiling of an upgraded Echo range, the e-commerce giant has discreetly done away with this restriction. Now, users can use their speakers to make calls directly to non-Echo devices at no extra charge.

According to Amazon, users are able to call "most" phone numbers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, excluding emergency numbers. In order to contact emergency services, users must have an Echo Connect, a small box priced at $34.99, that connects with users' home phone plans to allow free international and emergency calls. To use the new feature, users simply have to ask Alexa to call a person in their phone book, at which point Alexa will verify the contact and then send the call through. The person on the receiving end of the call will see the user's mobile phone number on their caller ID.

It is unclear whether this feature will be made available to international Echo users or when its rollout would take place.

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