Vodafone and Microsoft Corp. unveiled a comprehensive 10-year strategic partnership aimed at leveraging their strengths in providing scaled digital platforms to over 300 million businesses, public sector organizations, and consumers across Europe and Africa.
This collaboration will involve transforming Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s generative AI, expanding Vodafone’s leading managed IoT connectivity platform, creating new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs in Europe and Africa, and redefining its global data center cloud strategy.
As part of the partnership, Vodafone commits to investing $1.5 billion over the next decade in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in collaboration with Microsoft. Microsoft, in turn, will utilize Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services.
The plan also includes Microsoft’s investment in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which is set to become a separate, standalone business by April 2024. This new entity will attract partners and customers, fostering growth in applications and expanding the platform’s connectivity capabilities.
The digital services emerging from this partnership will employ cutting-edge generative AI technology to deliver a highly personalized and differentiated customer experience across various channels, all built upon unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies under Vodafone’s established framework for responsible AI.
Vodafone Group CEO Margherita Della Valle emphasized the commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa, particularly benefiting small and medium-sized companies. Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, expressed excitement about applying cloud and AI technology to enhance customer experiences and accelerate the transition to the cloud for millions of people and businesses across Africa and Europe.
The collaboration will focus on five key areas, including generative AI, scaling IoT, Africa digital acceleration, enterprise growth, and skilling and youth outreach programs, to enrich the lives of 100 million consumers and 1 million SMEs across the African continent. The partnership aims to boost financial services innovation and position Vodafone as Europe’s leading platform for business by distributing Microsoft services, such as Azure, security solutions, and modern work offerings. This strategic alliance signifies a significant commitment to advancing digital transformation on a broad scale.