Amazon Australia has today announced the new Alexa-to-phone calling capability for Australians on all Alexa Echo devices from today.

Aussies can now use Alexa to call any Australian landline or mobile from their Alexa device for free. The phone calls initiate from your Alexa device and can be easily answered and completed using the recipient’s phone or other device. Amazon Australia say that the initiative is designed to allow older Australians to keep in contact with friends and family while living independently.

At this stage only 10 contacts can be added via the Alexa app to be dialled hands free with a simple prompt such as “Alexa, call Adam’s mobile.” If your contact only has one number then all you have to say to call that person — “Alexa, call Adam.”

Calling with Alexa

Amazon Australia say that to set up calling you will need to follow these steps below but personally I didn’t have to set up anything and it was good to go right from the first command.

  1. Download the latest version of the Alexa app and sign in on your mobile phone.
  2. Along the bottom of your app, select Communicate.
  3. Add and verify your mobile phone number and grant permissions for calling and messaging.
  4. You can import your mobile phone’s contact list when prompted or add contacts individually via the Communicate page in the app. To do this, select the person-shaped icon in the top right corner of the screen, followed by the three dots in the top right corner.

This new feature joins other Alexa communication functionality such as Drop Ins to instantly connect with another Alexa device, Announcements to broadcast your voice to other devices and Alexa-to-Alexa calling.

If you have an Amazon Echo device sitting on your desk or in your kitchen, this new voice dialling feature will certainly be extremely useful — it already has been for me. Give it a go and see what you think.