Vodafone and Microsoft Sign $1.5 Billion Agreement to Use AI, Cloud, and IoT Services in Europe and Africa

Microsoft has signed a $1.5 billion deal with Vodafone to use artificial intelligence, cloud, and internet of things services across Europe and Africa.

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Vodafone, the largest telecommunications company in the United Kingdom, and Microsoft have signed a 10-year, $1.5 billion contract to utilize Microsoft’s cloud-based, digital, enterprise, and generative AI capabilities.

Through the alliance, Vodafone hopes to provide more than 300 million customers and companies in its European and African countries with services supported by Microsoft.

Vodafone and Microsoft

To enhance AI, cloud, and IoT services across Africa, Microsoft and Vodafone have partnered.

The telecom behemoth will invest in customer-focused AI as part of the agreement, which is supported by Microsoft’s Copilot, Azure, and OpenAI technologies. Having said that, Vodafone plans to replace its physical data centers with Azure’s more scalable and reasonably priced cloud services.

Microsoft, meanwhile, plans to employ Vodafone’s connection services over the next ten years and to acquire shares in the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which is expected to become a stand-alone enterprise by April 2024.

With a $140 billion potential market, Vodafone CEO Margherita Delle Valle noted last year that there is a significant opportunity to assist businesses with their digitization.

The agreement struck with Microsoft CEO and chairman Satya Nadella, she said in a statement, will “accelerate” the digital transformation of Vodafone’s business clients, “particularly small and medium-sized companies.”

Microsoft to Develop Fair and Dispassionate AI Products Based on Vodafone’s Framework: Microsoft pledged that the AI services Vodafone uses will be constructed on the impartial and moral privacy and security guidelines that the telecom company’s framework for responsible AI development has already underlined.

Transparency and ethics are given top priority in the framework when it comes to creating AI-related technology. Vodafone promised to alert users if they are dealing with a chatbot or artificial intelligence program.

The massive London-based telecom company’s AI strategy is centered on human oversight, making sure the algorithm doesn’t “inadvertently” lead the company to make judgments “that may affect any group or individual” in an unjust way.

Vodafone has agreed to assist Microsoft in marketing its array of services, including Teams Phone Mobile, to its corporate clientele across Europe. Microsoft, on the other hand, will assist Vodafone in growing M-Pesa, its mobile financial platform, which is available in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Vodafone’s chief financial officer, Luka Mucic, predicted that Microsoft’s dominance in the AI space, supported by its collaboration with OpenAI, will revolutionize telecom consumer services.

Additionally, he hinted at TOBi, a Vodafone AI chatbot that will respond to customer inquiries with greater consistency and intelligence and is powered by Microsoft and OpenAI. Rather than completely replacing the workforce, the chatbot would help Vodafone’s customer support representatives increase their efficiency and the caliber of their talks.

Microsoft’s chief commercial officer, Judson Althoff, said that opting to get into the $1.5 billion alliance was influenced in part by Vodafone’s expertise in financial services and the Internet of Things.

He went on to say that Microsoft will be able to build massive data repositories and leverage AI to assist clients in reaching their sustainability objectives thanks to Vodafone’s IoT stack. The internet behemoth with headquarters in Seattle wants to work with Vodafone to increase digital literacy in Africa.

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