2 mins read

Vodafone, Microsoft Forge 10-Year Partnership for AI and Cloud Services

Vodafone and Microsoft have entered into a comprehensive 10-year strategic partnership, aiming to leverage their combined capabilities to reach over 300 million businesses, public sector entities, and consumers across Europe and Africa. The collaboration will involve utilizing Microsoft’s generative AI to enhance Vodafone’s customer experience, expanding Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, developing new digital and financial services for businesses, and transforming Vodafone’s global data center cloud strategy.

As part of the partnership, Vodafone plans to invest $1.5 billion over the next decade in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in collaboration with Microsoft. In return, Microsoft will make use of Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services. Additionally, Microsoft will invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which will become a separate business entity by April 2024. This new company aims to attract partners and customers, fostering growth in applications and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles, and machines.

The digital services resulting from this partnership will utilize cutting-edge generative AI technology to offer highly personalized and distinctive customer experiences across various channels. The focus will be on maintaining unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies within Vodafone’s established framework for responsible AI.




Vodafone, Microsoft Forge 10-Year Partnership for AI and Cloud Services
Vodafone, Microsoft Forge 10-Year Partnership for AI and Cloud Services

Five key areas of collaboration have been identified by the companies:

1. **Generative AI:** Leveraging Microsoft Azure OpenAI to provide real-time, proactive, and hyper-personalized experiences for Vodafone customers across multiple touchpoints, including the digital assistant TOBi.

2. **Scaling IoT:** Microsoft’s investment in Vodafone’s standalone global IoT-managed connectivity platform, along with Vodafone becoming part of the Azure ecosystem, making the IoT platform accessible to a broader developer and third-party community.

3. **Africa Digital Acceleration:** Scaling M-Pesa, Africa’s largest financial technology platform, by hosting it on Azure and launching cloud-native applications. The partnership also includes a program aiming to enhance the lives of 100 million consumers and 1 million SMEs across Africa, focusing on digital literacy, skills development, and providing digital services to underserved SME markets.

4. **Enterprise Growth:** Expanding Vodafone’s distribution of Microsoft services, including Azure, security solutions, and modern work offerings, to become Europe’s leading platform for business. This strategy is designed to support the growth of SMEs by offering a managed platform with low adoption and running costs.

5. **Cloud Transformation:** Accelerating Vodafone’s cloud transformation by modernizing data centers on Microsoft Azure, improving responsiveness to customers, reducing operational costs, and supporting Vodafone’s sustainable business strategy.

Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle emphasized the strategic commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa through this unique partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed excitement about applying the latest cloud and AI technology to enhance the customer experience for millions of people and businesses across the two continents.

The companies plan to apply for certification in the U.S. by mid-2024, initiating test flights by the end of the year, with the goal of a commercial launch in 2028. While navigating the regulatory landscape is expected to be a complex process, both Vodafone and Microsoft remain optimistic about the potential success of this ambitious collaboration in the evolving digital landscape.

Leave a Reply