Vodafone and Microsoft have recently unveiled a strategic partnership spanning 10 years. This collaboration is set to deliver extensive digital platforms to a diverse audience, including more than 300 million businesses, public sector entities, and individual consumers in Europe and Africa.

The agreement includes a substantial commitment from Vodafone, investing $1.5 billion over the next decade in cloud technology and AI services focused on customer needs, in partnership with Microsoft.

This mutually beneficial partnership includes Microsoft planning to allocate an unspecified amount of investment into Vodafone’s Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity platform. This platform is on track to emerge as an independent entity by April.

Vodafone Group chief executive Margherita Della Valle said: “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.”

The collaboration is primarily focused on transforming Vodafone’s customer service experience, innovating digital and financial solutions for businesses, and modernizing the company’s overarching strategy for cloud services in its global data centers.

Moreover, Vodafone is looking to broaden the scope of its platform, aiming to enhance connectivity across a wider range of devices, vehicles, and machinery.

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

The partnership between Vodafone and Microsoft has been strategically structured around five principal areas of cooperation. At the forefront is the enhancement of Vodafone’s digital assistant, TOBi. This virtual assistant is poised for a significant upgrade with the integration of advanced generative AI technology, utilizing the capabilities of Microsoft Azure OpenAI.

In addition to this, the collaboration will strengthen the ties in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. Vodafone has expressed its intention to revitalize its data centers, leveraging the advanced infrastructure of Microsoft Azure for this purpose.

Furthermore, the alliance between these two technological powerhouses is geared towards supporting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in Africa. This region is a key focus for their joint efforts, where initiatives aimed at improving digital literacy, enhancing skills, and engaging with the youth are planned to be launched.