Vodafone Group has struck a ten-year partnership deal with Microsoft to bring generative AI and cloud expertise to more than 300 million businesses, public sector organisations and consumers across Vodafone’s European and African markets.

As part of the deal, Vodafone stated it will invest $1.5 billion over the next decade in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in conjunction with Microsoft.

In addition, the companies will push financial offerings for businesses in Africa, enhance Vodafone’s enterprise play and target an overhaul of its data centre cloud strategy.

Vodafone explained the pair will collaborate to transform customer experience using OpenAI’s technology running on Microsoft Azure. The operator’s staff will gain access to Microsoft Copilot, an AI feature integrated with the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

The duo pledged to use the latest technology to provide a “highly personalised and differentiated customer experience across multiple channels”, built on “unbiased and ethical” policies.

Microsoft will use Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services, and invest in the operator’s IoT platform, which will become a standalone business by April.

The aim of the entity is to attract new partners and customers, drive growth in applications and expand the platform to connect more devices, vehicles and machines.

Vodafone added it wanted to make the IoT platform available to a vast developer and third-party community using open APIs through Azure.

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone CEO, said the partnership represented a “bold commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa”.

Microsoft CEO and chair Satya Nadella believes the “new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organisation and every industry around the world”.