With the goal of leveraging their respective strengths to provide scalable digital platforms to over 300 million enterprises, public sector organisations, and consumers across Europe and Africa, Vodafone and Microsoft Corp. unveiled a new, far-reaching 10-year strategic alliance on Tuesday.

Through the partnership, the companies will collaborate to transform Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s generative AI; hyperscale Vodafone’s leading managed IoT connectivity platform; develop new digital and financial services for businesses, particularly SMEs across Europe and Africa; and overhaul its global data centre cloud strategy.

Over the next ten years, Vodafone plans to invest $1.5 billion in cloud and customer-focused AI services created in partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft will also make advantage of Vodafone’s mobile and fixed connectivity offerings.

Microsoft also aims to invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connection technology, which will become a separate, standalone business by April 2024. In addition to spurring development in apps and broadening the platform to connect additional machines, cars, and devices, the new business will draw in new partners and clients.

With the use of cutting-edge generative AI technology, the new alliance will provide digital services that offer a highly customised and unique client experience across a variety of channels. They will be based on Vodafone’s well-established framework for responsible AI, which includes impartial and moral privacy and security regulations.

Vodafone Group CEO Margherita Della Valle declared: “Today, Vodafone has made a bold commitment to Europe and Africa’s digital future.” This special strategic alliance with Microsoft will improve the quality of the customer experience for customers and hasten the digital transformation of our business clients, especially small and medium-sized businesses.

The chairman and CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, stated that “this new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organisation and every industry around the world.” “We are thrilled to be working with Vodafone to implement cutting-edge cloud and artificial intelligence technology to improve the customer experience for hundreds of millions of individuals and businesses in Europe and Africa, develop new products and services, and expedite the company’s cloud migration.”

“We can enter those environments, model the environment, build massive data stores, and use AI to help customers meet their sustainability goals thanks to Vodafone’s IoT stack,” he stated.

Building digital literacy was one of Microsoft’s regional goals, and Vodafone’s M-PESA mobile money platform—which runs in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and other African countries—shared this goal.

He declared, “We are thrilled to introduce generative AI capabilities to support customers in making more informed financial decisions.”