- Vodafone has announced a ten-year partnership with Microsoft to provide generative AI, digital services, and cloud solutions to over 300 million businesses and consumers in Africa and Europe.
- Over the next ten years, the telecom company plans to invest $1.5 billion in cloud and customer-focused AI services created in collaboration with Microsoft. The tech giant will use Vodafone's fixed and mobile connectivity services.
- The partnership will change "Vodafone's customer experience using Microsoft's generative AI, hyperscale Vodafone's leading managed IoT connectivity platform, develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs across Europe and Africa, and overhaul its global data centre cloud strategy."
- It also plans to increase M-PESA’s — Kenya’s Safaricom mobile money platform — reach and enhance financial inclusion across Africa.
In 2020, South Africa’s Vodacom and Kenya’s Safaricom acquired M-PESA from UK's Vodafone. In August 2017, Vodafone transferred 35% of its ownership in Safaricom to Vodacom, combining its African assets under the Vodacom brand.
However, Vodafone, the parent company of Vodacom, currently holds a 5% stake in Safaricom.
The British telco is present in 47 African countries, including the DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, and Lesotho, with 186 million customers across the continent.
Microsoft will use Vodafone's fixed and mobile connectivity services and invest in Vodafone's managed IoT connectivity platform, which will operate independently by April 2024.
The independent company will create opportunities for new partners and customers, fostering application growth and expanding the platform to connect more devices, vehicles, and machinery.
Furthermore, the digital services generated by this new partnership will use the most recent advancements in generative AI technology to provide a highly personalised and distinctive customer experience across multiple channels.
They will be built on unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies that adhere to Vodafone's established framework for responsible AI.
The Chair and CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, stated that the emerging AI era will open up new opportunities for businesses and sectors globally.
She stressed that the companies will use the newest cloud and AI technologies to enhance the customer experience for hundreds of millions of people and businesses in Europe and Africa and to hasten the company's cloud migration.
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Vodafone and Amazon collaborated in September 2023 to expand 4G/5G services to new areas, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming investments in fixed wireless or fibre-based connections to their core networks.