IBM and Vodafone team up for digital transformation venture around AI, 5G and edge

IBM and Vodafone Business have entered into a strategic commercial agreement to offer their European and other global clients with the open and flexible technologies required to integrate multiple clouds and prepare for the next wave of digital transformation brought by AI, 5G, Edge and Software Defined Networking (SDN).

The interconnectivity of clouds and vulnerability of data are the two most burning global issues today as more than 70% of organisations are using up to 15 cloud environments as they are putting their best efforts to access powerful new digital solutions and services. The newly formed venture between IBM and Vodafone will help such companies by eliminating complexity and barriers from their technology choices, ensuring a free flow of data and applications in a secured manner.

Vodafone Business customers will have an immediate access to IBM’s entire portfolio of cloud offerings with the formation of the new venture. Vodafone Business’ cloud and hosting unit will receive IBM’s services, which are valued at £425mn, for a period of eight years. With IBM’s optimisation, automation and cognitive capabilities, customers will have an advantage of running their business efficiently in a cloud environment. Converging multi-cloud and connectivity services helps organisations expedite their decision-making process, enhances automation, and personalise experiences for remote end users.

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone, said in a statement: “This strategic venture with IBM allows us to focus on our strengths in fixed and mobile technologies, whilst leveraging IBM's expertise in multi-cloud, AI and services. Through this new venture we'll accelerate our growth and deepen engagement with our customers while driving radical simplification and efficiency in our business.”

The new venture is scheduled to start its operations in the first half of 2019.

Two years ago, both companies had signed an agreement where Vodafone offered an international service enabling enterprises to support the movement of VMware-based workloads on a Vodafone Hosted Private Cloud to and from the IBM Cloud. This meant that the Vodafone customers could easily and rapidly deploy and move VMware-based workloads with confidence, speed and scale globally. The service was designed to assist Vodafone enterprise clients reduce latency by location applications closer to users and at the same time maintaining data within a security-rich global network.

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