Vodafone and Microsoft have announced a ten-year strategic partnership to bring generative AI, digital services, and cloud solutions to more than 300 million businesses and consumers.
Over the next ten years, Vodafone will invest $1.5 billion in Microsoft services, with a focus on cloud and AI. The deal includes the migration of tens of thousands of servers from Vodafone’s data centers to Azure.
The collaboration will focus on improving Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s generative AI, and scaling Vodafone’s managed connectivity platform for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Key initiatives include the redesign of Vodafone’s end-to-end customer interface using generative AI delivered through Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, and the creation of a new independent IoT company to connect 175 million devices and platforms worldwide, which will be scaled by Microsoft.
As part of the partnership between Vodafone and Microsoft, Vodafone will develop its M-Pesa mobile payment service, a cashless mobile payment system used in Africa.
M-Pesa will run on Microsoft Azure, enabling the launch of new cloud-native applications. Vodafone will also expand its business with enterprise customers by offering new Microsoft services for small and medium-sized businesses.
Vodafone is also adopting Microsoft’s Copilot, an AI assistant for Microsoft 365 that integrates OpenAI AI into apps such as Word and Excel. Microsoft recently began offering Copilot without licensing restrictions; previously, companies had to purchase at least 300 licenses. The price is $30 per license. For individuals, Microsoft is launching Copilot Pro, which offers the same features as the business versions. The price is 22 euros.