Vodafone, a multinational telecommunications company, and Microsoft have unveiled a 10-year partnership to invest $1.5 billion in cloud and customer-focused AI services development across Europe and Africa.
This collaboration is set to leverage the strengths of both entities, catering to over 300 million businesses, public sector organisations, and consumers.
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group chief executive, said: “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,” Valle said.
Through the partnership, the companies will collaborate 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.
Microsoft also intends to invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which will become a separate, standalone business by April 2024. The new company will attract new partners and customers, driving growth in applications and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles and machines.
The digital services generated by the new partnership will use the latest generative AI technology to provide a highly personalized and differentiated customer experience across multiple channels. They will be built on unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies under Vodafone’s established framework for responsible AI.
“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, 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,” Nadella said.