A new Ooma skill for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant now lets you initiate phone calls using your Amazon Echo or Fire TV. After enabling the skill and linking it to a free Ooma account, simply say “Alexa, use Ooma to call [PHONE NUMBER].” Alexa will then ask you for a nickname for that number, so that in the future you can simply say something like “Alexa, use Ooma to call Mom.” After asking to make a phone call, your phone will ring. When you answer it, the number you asked to call will be ringing as if you started the call. You don’t use the Echo or Fire TV to talk to the person you’re calling. It’s just a feature that saves you from unlocking your phone, finding your contact, and starting the call. It’s as if you had a personal assistant who hands you an already ringing phone after you tell them who you want to call.
While Ooma does sell a voice-over-IP device, which allows you to make internet calls, the hardware is not required to use this new Alexa feature. All that is required is a free Ooma account which grants you “300 minutes per month of complimentary calling, and up to a 1,500 minute lifetime maximum.” If you find you’ve exceed the free quota, you’ll have to sign up for an Ooma Telo account, which runs about $10 a month and comes with additional features like voicemail and international calling.
This isn’t the first time Ooma has teamed up with Amazon. For a while, the two ran a promotion which gave away a free Fire TV Stick when you purchased Ooma’s voice-over-IP device. To get started using Ooma with Alexa, just enable the skill through the Alexa app or web portal, then select the link to link Alexa with an Ooma account. You’ll be asked to create a new free account if you don’t already have one during the linking process.