BT upgrades the humble landline phone with Alexa voice assistant smarts

BT Advanced Digital Home Phone
(Image credit: BT)

If you’ve ever wanted Alexa as your personal secretary, BT is now making that a reality with its Advanced Digital Home Phone with built-in Alexa functionality, along with a range of up-to-date features that could make it an essential upgrade for its customers.

The new cordless handset is being pushed as a more convenient device for the home, and providing an easy to use introduction to smart technology for those not familiar with the concept.

The Advanced Digital Home Phone with Alexa built-in will be available as a free upgrade for customers on BT’s Broadband and Digital Voice service, perhaps something to look out for if you’re tech savvy or need a convenient smart assistant for home use.

What Alexa brings to the table

Customers will be able to access the smart functionality via a dedicated Alexa button on the device. This will let its users perform a range of familiar Alexa tasks, such as asking it to call contacts, check the weather forecast, stream music and more. 

BT has stated that Alexa functionality is optional. The only way to activate Alexa is via that aforementioned button, and the handset can work as standard without it.

The Advanced Digital Home Phone is also compatible with other Alexa-enabled smart devices around the home. This means that the handset could possibly act as a hub for all your Alexa related needs.

The new phone is another step towards BT’s existing plan of having all of its landline calls run through broadband by 2025. The handsets achieve this by connecting to a user’s BT Smart Hub 2, which in turn allows Alexa to operate.

What other features does BT’s new phone have?

Alexa is the main draw here, but BT has also detailed other features that will be present in the Advanced Digital Home Phone.

BT touts the handset as having “crystal-clear” HD calling. Good call quality is always welcome, particularly for elderly folks who may have trouble hearing, or for those who usually have to deal with poor connections.

Two other features include Call Diversion and Call Protect. The former will allow customers to divert calls from the home phone to their smartphones, while the latter is a simple way to block specific numbers either while it’s ringing or during the call itself.

Rounding out the feature set is the handset’s 240 hour battery life in standby mode, up to 50 meters of wireless range as well as a one-touch button to access your BT voicemails. BT did not specify how much that battery life drains while on call, however.

Should Alexa be a concern?

Alexa's integration with the Advanced Digital Home Phone might be giving customers something to think about before deciding to go ahead with the upgrade, as the freedom Alexa is being allowed here could be a point of concern for some customers. 

However, while Alexa is able to connect to smart devices around the house, it is not a surveillance tool, and its implementation into BT's Advanced Digital Home Phone is entirely at the user's discretion.

The home phone, traditionally, offers the user and the party on the other end of the line total privacy.  Users of the new handset may not have to stress, however. BT has said that Alexa is not connected to the BT voice network, which should give customers some piece of mind in that regard.

The BT Advanced Digital Home Phone is available for free to all existing BT customers starting from February 10. Standalone handsets will also be available to purchase from BT, starting at £44.99 for a single device, £69.99 for a dual pack, £89.99 for a triple pack and finally £109.99 for a quad pack of devices.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.