Telecommunications firm Vodafone has formed a 10-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to help it to transform the customer experience using generative artificial intelligence, digital services and the cloud.
Over the next 10 years, Vodafone will invest $1.5 billion in Microsoft’s cloud and customer-focused AI services, including Microsoft Copilot. This will help Vodafone to offer scaled digital platforms to over 300 million businesses, public sector organisations and consumers across Europe and Africa.
“This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organisation 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.”
The two firms will work together in five key areas of collaboration. First, they will use Microsoft Azure OpenAI to deliver personalised experiences to Vodafone customer touchpoints and its digital assistant.
Microsoft also plans to invest in Vodafone’s managed internet of things connectivity platform, which connects 175 million devices worldwide and aims to become a separate, standalone business by April 2024.
Furthermore, Vodafone will accelerate its cloud transformation by modernising its data centres on Microsoft Azure. This will improve its responsiveness to customers while simplifying its IT estate. The firm will also work to distribute Microsoft services, including Microsoft Azure, security solutions and modern work tools including Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile. This will help business customers to deploy Microsoft’s services with low adoption and running costs.
Lastly, Microsoft intends to further scale M-Pesa, Vodafone’s Africa-based financial technology platform, by housing it on Azure and enabling the launch of new cloud-native applications. The two firms will also launch a new programme that aims to teach digital literacy skills to 100 million of Vodafone’s consumers and one million small-to-medium sized enterprises.
“Today, Vodafone has made a bold commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa,” said Margherita Della Valle, CEO of Vodafone Group. “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.”