Microsoft and Vodafone to Improve 300Mn Businesses Through AI in Europe and Africa

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As part of the agreement, Microsoft will become an equity investor in Vodafone’s standalone managed IoT.

Vodafone has entered into a 10-year partnership with Microsoft to offer generative AI, digital, enterprise, and cloud services to over 300 million businesses and consumers across Europe and Africa. The British company plans to invest $1.5 billion in AI, using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI and Copilot technologies. This investment will also involve transitioning from physical data centres to Azure cloud services.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft will become an equity investor in Vodafone’s standalone managed IoT (Internet of Things) platform, set to spin out by April. Microsoft will aid in scaling Vodafone’s mobile financial platform in Africa.

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The partnership aims to expedite the digital transformation of Vodafone’s business clients, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Vodafone’s CEO, Margherita Della Valle, sees this as an opportunity to aid business digitisation, targeting a market worth 140 billion euros. 

Vodafone’s CFO, Luka Mucic, emphasised the enhanced capabilities of the TOBi chatbot, powered by Microsoft AI, to provide more intelligent responses. The technology is expected to boost the productivity and conversation quality of customer service staff, not replace them.

Microsoft’s ‘digital twins’ technology, combined with Vodafone’s IoT capabilities, aims to improve sustainability in various sectors. Microsoft’s chief commercial officer (CCO) Judson Althoff stated that the objectives of  Microsoft in Africa align with Vodafone’s M-PESA mobile money platform. The objectives include building digital literacy and introducing AI for intelligent financial decision-making.

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