Vodafone Signs $1.5 Billion Deal with Microsoft to Develop Generative AI, IoT and Cloud Services
Vodafone signed a $1.5 billion deal with Microsoft to develop AI, IoT and cloud technologies for enhanced customer experience.
British telecom company Vodafone and Microsoft today announced a 10-year strategic partnership to offer scaled digital platforms to more than 300 million businesses, public sector organizations and consumers across Europe and Africa.
The collaboration will see Vodafone investing $1.5 billion over the next 10 years in artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), financial services and cloud technology to roll out customer-focused services developed in conjunction with Microsoft.
“Today, Vodafone has made a bold commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa. This unique strategic partnership with Microsoft will accelerate the digital transformation of our business customers, particularly small and medium-sized companies, and step up the quality of customer experience for consumers,” said Margherita Della Valle, Group chief executive at Vodafone.
The partnership aims to transform Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s generative AI; hyperscale Vodafone’s leading managed IoT connectivity platform; develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs across Europe and Africa; and overhaul its global data center cloud strategy.
“This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organization and every industry around the world,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft.
“We are delighted that together with Vodafone we will apply the latest cloud and AI technology to enhance the customer experience of hundreds of millions of people and businesses across Africa and Europe, build new products and services, and accelerate the company’s transition to the cloud,” he added.
Vodafone’s Initiatives to Enhance Customer Services
As part of the collaboration, Vodafone will transform its customer experience through Microsoft’s generative AI, specifically Azure OpenAI. The objective is to deliver frictionless, real-time, and personalized experiences across all customer touchpoints. Additionally, Vodafone employees will also be able to leverage the AI capabilities of Microsoft Copilot to transform working practices, boost productivity and improve digital efficiency.
Additionally, Microsoft will invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which is set to become a standalone business by April 2024. According to Microsoft, this move will attract new partners and customers, driving growth and expanding the platform’s connectivity to encompass more devices, vehicles and machines.
Microsoft intends to help further scale M-Pesa – a financial technology platform in Africa, by housing it on Azure and enabling the launch of new cloud-native applications. The companies are also launching a purpose-led program to help 100 million consumers and 1 million SMEs across the African continents by enhancing digital literacy, skilling and youth outreach programs.
Vodafone will extend Microsoft services, including Microsoft Azure, security solutions and modern work offerings such as Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile, as part of its strategy to strengthen European business. Concurrently, Vodafone accelerates its cloud transformation, modernizing data centers with Microsoft Azure to enhance responsiveness, reduce operational costs, and align with sustainable business goals.
The partnership’s focus on ethical AI, IoT connectivity, and innovative financial services reflects a holistic approach to digital transformation.
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