Amazon has quietly curtailed one of the best perks for Amazon’s Alexa users—the ability to make free “Alexa-to-Phone” calls to landlines and mobile numbers in certain territories—by limiting the feature to a total of just 10 contacts.
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The move happened only about a month before Verizon’s announcement this week of a new “Number Share – Home” feature that allows Verizon users to link their mobile numbers to Alexa for $5 a month.
Users on the Alexa subreddit began grousing about the under-the-radar change about a month ago, and Amazon’s Alexa-to-Phone support page details the new 10-contact limitation. An Amazon rep confirmed that the 10-contact limit was imposed in October.
Alexa-to-Phone lets users make free phone calls to landlines and mobile numbers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Mexico simply by asking Alexa. You can use the feature to make outgoing calls, but Alexa won’t field incoming calls or dial 911 unless you link Alexa with a mobile carrier.
Previously, you could make Alexa-to-Phone calls to an unlimited number of people. Now, however, you’re limited to a list of just 10 contacts.
Alexa will add a contact to the 10-number list each time you place an Alexa-to-Phone call. Once you hit the limit of 10, you’ll need to dig into your Alexa Communications settings and manually delete an Alexa-to-Phone contact before you can place a call to a new number. (It should be noted that Alexa-to-Alexa calling remains both unlimited and free.)
Until recently, U.S. Alexa users could only link AT&T numbers to Alexa using the carrier’s free NumberSync service (which was first introduced last year).
This week, however, Verizon announced that it was entering the fray with its new Number Share – Home service, which lets you link Alexa with your Verizon mobile number for $5 a month, per line.
Both AT&T and Verizon let you call an unlimited number of contacts via Alexa once you link your mobile number. You can also make 911 calls, as well as have Alexa announce (“Michael would like to talk to Emma”) and field (“Alexa, answer”) incoming calls.
Besides enabling Alexa to answer and field mobile calls, both AT&T’s NumberSync and Verizon’s Number Share features allow you to disable incoming calls through Alexa using routines, such as during “away” routines or according to a set schedule.
While Verizon is charging $5 a month/line for Number Share, it says it will offer three months of free service if you enable the feature and then purchase an Alexa-enabled device from Verizon.com.
Updated shortly after publication with a confirmation from Amazon.