Vodafone, a mobile telecom provider, has signed a 10-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to provide generative AI, digital, enterprise, and cloud services to over 300 million businesses across Europe and Africa. Over the next ten years, Vodafone plans to invest $1.5 billion in cloud and customer-focused AI services created in partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft will also make use of Vodafone’s mobile and fixed connectivity services.
Strategic partnership covering IoT, cloud, generative AI
The partnership aims to transform Vodafone’s customer experience with Microsoft’s generative AI, hyperscale Vodafone’s leading managed IoT connectivity platform, develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs in Europe and Africa, and overhaul its global data center cloud strategy. Moreover, by April 2024, this will operate independently as a separate business. In addition to spurring growth in applications and broadening the platform to connect more machines, cars, and devices, the new business will draw in new partners and clients.
Introducing personalized digital services
Through the use of Microsoft Azure OpenAI capabilities, the partnership will use Generative AI to boost customer satisfaction and provide real-time, proactive, seamless, and hyper-personalized experiences across touchpoints. Additionally, it will make use of its distinctive benefits to reach over 300 million customers, public sector organizations, and businesses throughout Europe and Africa. TOBi, Vodafone’s digital assistant, will be included. Additionally, Microsoft Copilot will enable Vodafone staff members to change work procedures, increase output, and enhance digital efficiency.
With the use of cutting-edge generative AI technology, the new partnership will produce digital services that offer a highly customized and unique customer experience across a variety of channels. They will be based on Vodafone’s well-established framework for responsible AI, which includes impartial and moral privacy and security policies.
Significant Collaboration Areas
The companies have identified five key areas of collaboration:
The companies aim to enhance customer satisfaction by utilizing Microsoft Azure OpenAI’s capabilities to provide frictionless, proactive, real-time, and highly personalized experiences across all Vodafone customer touchpoints. This includes the digital assistant TOBi, which is accessible in 13 countries. Employees of Vodafone will also be able to use Microsoft Copilot’s AI capabilities to change working procedures, increase output, and enhance digital efficiency.
Vodafone has launched a new standalone global Internet of Things (IoT) managed connectivity platform that connects 175 million devices and platforms globally. Microsoft plans to invest in this platform. Vodafone also intends to join the Azure ecosystem, opening the IoT platform through Open APIs to a large developer and third-party community.
Africa’s digital acceleration
Microsoft intends to help scale M-Pesa, Africa’s largest financial technology platform, by hosting it on Azure and enabling the launch of new cloud-native applications. A purpose-driven initiative being introduced by the companies aims to improve the lives of one million SMEs and 100 million consumers on the African continent. The objective is to provide digital services to the underserved SME market and improve youth outreach, skill development, and digital literacy initiatives. Through the creation of a community of certified developers, the partnership seeks to promote innovation in financial services.
As part of its plan to become Europe’s top business platform, Vodafone will continue to commit to distributing Microsoft services, such as Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile, security solutions, and Microsoft Azure. In addition to supporting the estimated 24 million SMEs in Europe with a managed platform that expands with their company, this allows business customers to quickly adopt and operate Microsoft’s cloud-based services.
By updating its data centers to Microsoft Azure, Vodafone plans to expedite its cloud transformation. This will simplify and lower the operational costs of its IT estate while enhancing its responsiveness to customers. Vodafone will be able to replace numerous physical data centers with virtual ones throughout Europe as a result, streamlining and cutting the costs associated with running its IT estate. It will also be able to meet its energy requirements and advance its sustainable business plan.
Here’s what they said
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group chief executive, said,
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 and step up the quality of customer experience for consumers.
Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, of Microsoft, commented,
This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organisation and every industry around the world. 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, build new products and services, and accelerate the company’s transition to the cloud.