Vodafone and Microsoft have lifted the covers off a new, 10-year strategic partnership that will see them jointly aim to offer scaled digital platforms to over 300 million businesses, public sector organizations, and consumers across Europe and Africa.
As part of the deal, Vodafone has committed to a $1.5 billion investment in cloud and customer-focused AI services over the next decade with Microsoft.
The two-way relationship also has Microsoft “intend[ing]” to invest an undisclosed sum into Vodafone’s IoT connectivity platform, which is set to become its own standalone business by April.
Microsoft and Vodafone want to accelerate digital transformation
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group chief executive, said: “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.”
The alliance aims to overhaul Vodafone’s customer experience, develop digital and financial services for businesses, and revamp the company’s global data center cloud strategy.
Vodafone also hopes to expand its platform, ultimately connecting more devices, vehicles, and machines.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella added: “This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organization and every industry around the world.”
Five key areas of collaboration have been identified by the companies, beginning with Vodafone’s digital assistant, TOBi, which is set to be supercharged by generative AI powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI.
Tighter connections will also be forged between Vodafone and Microsoft in terms of IoT, and Vodafone has shared plans to modernize its data centers on Microsoft Azure.
Moreover, the two tech titans hope to help SMEs that use their services to grow, with a particular focus on the African continent where digital literacy, upskilling, and youth outreach programs are set to be deployed.