Vodafone is the first UK network to allow you to check your data usage and bill from your sofa using just your voice, as it launches its own Amazon Echo skill.
The new skill for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot will allow you to ask your smart speaker a variety of queries about your Vodafone account including how much your current bill is and how much of your allowances (minutes, texts, data) are left.
You’ll need to authenticate your account with Echo, but it will then allow you to access a variety of options from your Vodafone account.
The network also plans to launch the feature on Google Home in the future, but it’s uncertain if Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker will be also get the feature when it’s released later this year.
Alexa, check my leftover data
Vodafone is uncertain if this is an option customers will choose to use. Neil Blagden, Director of Customer Operations at Vodafone told TechRadar at a briefing the skill was created by an employee in seven hours on a spare Saturday.
Blagden said, “This is something we plan to launch very shortly to the public and we’re going to see how [the public] get on.
“If it’s the future or not, we don’t know. But we want to see what it can do and whether customers will use it or not.”
The exact launch date for the skill is uncertain at the moment – Vodafone is claiming late summer, but we are none the clearer on an exact date for the release.
It’s also not certain whether this will work on other devices toting Alexa’s voice assistant including the Amazon Fire tablet range and the HTC U11.
With Alexa coming to both the Huawei Mate 9 in the US and HTC U11 around the world, it may be that Vodafone sees the voice assistant becoming a feature on more phones in the future.
Whether voice assistant integration is something other major UK networks like EE, O2 and Three start to do remains to be seen.
Vodafone is also launching a new range of ways for customers to interact with the network’s customer service division including an online chatbot called TOBi that sits within the MyVodafone support app.