Vodafone, Microsoft make AI pact to enhance Africa

Vodafone, Microsoft make AI pact to enhance Africa

Vodacom parent company Vodafone and Microsoft signed a 10-year strategic partnership deal in a move for the operator to tap deeper into generative AI, digital services and cloud. 

In a statement, Vodafone said the deal will bolster each sector to boost service for over 300 million businesses, public sector organisations, and consumers across Europe and Africa.

Vodafone detailed that Microsoft's generative AI will be used to enhance customer service, hyperscale its managed IoT connectivity platform and develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs across Europe and Africa. Lastly, it will overhaul its global data centre cloud strategy. 

As part of the deal, Vodafone will invest US$1.5 billion over the next decade in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in partnership with the American technology giant. Additionally, Micoaofrt will use Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services.

Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform will become a separate standalone business by April 2024 and Microsoft will invest an unspecified amount in it. 

By tapping into the latest generative AI technology, Vodafone said it will provide a “highly personalised and differentiated customer service experience across multiple channels.”

Vodafone added newly developed AI technologies will be built on unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies, under the operator’s framework from ethical AI. 

Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle 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, particularly small and medium-sized companies, and step up the quality of customer experience for consumers.”

“This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organisation and every industry around the world,” added Satya Nadella, Microsoft chairman and CEO. 

“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.”