Even if you've ditched a landline number in favor of taking every call on your cellphone, you can now use your Amazon Alexa speaker as your phone with Verizon with a new monthly add-on plan.
The feature, called Number Share - Home, lets Verizon customers make and receive hands-free phone calls through any of the best Alexa speakers. This includes the Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Show. And when you buy any of these Alexa devices through Verizon, you'll get three months to try Number - Share Home free.
If you know all about how to use Alexa, you might know one of the best Alexa skills is the option to connect your AT&T number to your voice assistant. Now Verizon customers can benefit from the same calling flexibility.
I maintained a Verizon landline number for a long time, even if I didn't know the number tied to my past apartment (oops.) But when I moved into my current abode, I finally bypassed the option to add a landline with one of the best Verizon plans for mobile-only users. Since it's my job to test the best smartwatches, I usually have something on my wrist letting me know when my phone is ringing, anyway.
Still, there are times when I miss calls because my smartwatch is charging and my smartphone is on silent. With Number Share - Home, one of the many Alexa speakers in my home (namely the Amazon Echo Show 8 and Amazon Echo Dot with Clock) can alert me of an incoming call, complete with called ID. When I place I call through an Alexa speaker, my Verizon cellphone number will appear to my recipient, too.
Previously, I knew how to make a voice or video call using Amazon Alexa's native communication service. This is separate from my cellphone's calling services, though. I could miss also in-app Alexa calls when I was out — with Number Share, an Alexa smart home routine can stop calls from being sent to my speakers if I'm not there during certain hours of the day.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of this feature, though, isn't making convenient calls to your friends but elevating your in-home safety. You can't use Alexa independently to call emergency services unless you pay for Alexa Guard Plus ($4.99/month). Verizon's Number Share - Home costs the same per Alexa-paired phone line per month, letting you use your phone to call 911.
Number Share - Home is available now. You can enable it in the Alexa app by going to More > Settings > Communication and selecting Verizon from the list of account options. You'll need to sign into your Verizon account to authorize Number Share.
Again, if you buy an Alexa-enabled device from Verizon you'll get three months of the service free. If you already have an Alexa speaker you'll start with one month free, so you can try it out to see if it's useful to you. From there, it's $5 per phone line per month.