Vodafone and Microsoft Forge 10-Year Partnership, Pledging $1.5 Billion for AI

Vodafone has entered into a decade-long partnership with Microsoft to extend generative AI, digital, enterprise, and cloud services to over 300 million businesses and consumers across its European and African markets. As part of the collaboration, Vodafone will invest $1.5 billion in customer-focused AI developed through Microsoft's Azure OpenAI and Copilot technologies, aiming to replace physical data centers with more cost-effective and scalable Azure cloud services. Microsoft, in return, will become an equity investor in Vodafone's managed Internet of Things (IoT) platform, set to become a standalone business by April 2024. Additionally, Microsoft will support the scaling of Vodafone's mobile financial platform in Africa. 

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Vodafone's Chief Financial Officer, Luka Mucic, highlighted Microsoft's expertise in AI, particularly through the OpenAI partnership, as transformative for the telecom company's customer services. The collaboration emphasizes the integration of Microsoft's digital twin technology to model manufacturing environments for testing process improvements in the cloud. Microsoft's Chief Commercial Officer, Judson Althoff, underlined the strategic importance of Vodafone's strength in IoT and financial services, “The IoT assets are critical in helping us address the sustainability needs of so many of our customers in hard-to-abate sectors.” The partnership aims to bring generative AI capabilities to Vodafone's M-PESA mobile money platform, promoting more intelligent financial decisions and digital literacy in African countries.

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