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Vodafone to accelerate build of digital platforms with 7,000 new software engineers

21 Oct 2021Technology news
6 minute read
  • Creates and strengthens Vodafone Technology – a single pan-European tech team and new structured Technical Career Path.
  • Tech team driving Vodafone’s transformation into a new generation connectivity and digital services provider at scale across Europe and Africa.
  • Investment of around €8 billion in technology and digital projects in last year alone to build scaled platforms of the future.

Vodafone today unveiled plans to add nearly 7,000 software engineers to its expanding European-wide technical workforce by 2025, through a combination of recruitment, re-skilling existing employees and insourcing.

The move is part of Vodafone’s increased investment to meet surging demand for digital connectivity, which is growing by up to 50% every year, and has been accelerated by the pandemic. By bringing more software skills in-house, Vodafone is driving forward its strategy to transform from a traditional telecommunications company to a new generation connectivity and digital services provider of scale across Europe and Africa.

Expanding its software capabilities will allow Vodafone to build differentiated products and services at lower cost and own the intellectual property (IP) rather than sourcing them through suppliers. Insourcing expertise generates savings of 20%, on average, for Vodafone.

Vodafone is also combining the advantage of its geographical scale with the adoption of leading software practices, and the creation of digital skills hubs across Europe. These will mean that Vodafone can launch new products and services 50% faster and in multiple countries at the same time.

The new intake of software engineers will complement the existing 9,000 employees already working in this area. They join Vodafone Technology, the new platform-focused function within Vodafone that unites all European tech employees, as well as its international shared services division. Together, they will develop new Internet of things (IoT) products, smart network features, digital & IT, and cyber security services across Europe.

Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone, said: “Vodafone is rapidly shifting up the gears to support the dramatic digital transformation that businesses and society are undergoing. We are building a global software brand with a diverse and inclusive culture, providing superfast connectivity and powerful digital products – however and wherever customers want to use them.”

By 2025, more than 50% of all employees within Vodafone Technology will work in software engineering. Vodacom, part of Vodafone Group, is also adopting a similar strategy through the extension of digital and financial services across Africa.

Software engineers at Vodafone will benefit from the company’s new technical career path, designed to recognise and develop technology experts into senior roles within Vodafone. They will be given the freedom to experiment and invent new services using cloud native digital architecture which will be made available to 300 million mobile customers, 28 million fixed broadband and 22 million TV customers via platforms built by Vodafone Technology.

With the springboard of a major investment of €8 billion in the last financial year, Vodafone Technology is already well advanced with its plans, based on its Tech2025 strategic blueprint (see Note to Editors).


Note to Editors

Vodafone Technology’s Tech 2025 strategy is committed to:

  • Building in-house new, scaled platforms. Vodafone is building new platforms by drawing on the strength of its own IoT platform, which can be scaled to support one billion devices in 180 markets and handle 1.7 billion API calls or sessions per month. In Africa, Vodacom operates the largest financial services platform with 61 million users.

For example, Vodafone Digital Asset Broker (DAB) is an innovative platform powered by blockchain which securely authenticates and links IoT devices. A new mobility cloud platform is providing motorists, highway agencies and emergency services with instant information to improve road safety.

Also, using the ‘smart layer’ in its network, Vodafone is developing new adjacent platforms beyond core fixed and mobile connectivity. Called Network as a Platform (NaaP), it will spur many new personalised services, including providing consumers with a broadband speed boost.

  • Creating and launching new products and services 50% faster. In addition to launching products much faster, Vodafone is also making the common API’s available through a single, global catalogue. This will provide third party developers and global tech partners with easy access to a standardised ‘toolkit’ to build adjacent services and makes Vodafone a partner of choice across Europe and Africa with a single agreement.

Through the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, Vodafone can rapidly introduce personalised loyalty rewards via its global My Vodafone App. Last year, Vodafone increased the number of digital software releases to 1500 from 650 in the UK alone using this technique.

  • Establishing Europe as a gigabit broadband leader. Vodafone is focused on combining standalone 5G (core and radio 5G networks), high band spectrum for 5G use only and Massive MIMO radio antennae to increase capacity. Vodafone was the first company to launch standalone 5G in Europe and is now able to provide businesses with their own private networks to power industry 4.0 applications.

Vodafone will also extend fixed gigabit connectivity directly to more than 51 million homes across Europe by 2023 using its own infrastructure, end-to-end. Combined, these turbo-charged services underline Vodafone’s support of the EU’s Digital Decade 2030 Targets to transition towards a climate neutral, circular and resilient economy.

  • Fixing 80% of network faults automatically. By moving 80% of its IT and network to the cloud, faults are fixed quicker and often before they impact the customer. Vodafone is using AI and machine learning to predict issues and has introduced zero-touch automation to improve reliability and customer service. Today, we have 1,200 robots performing various automated processes across several functions, including networks, procurement and customer service.
  • Expanding the new Technical Career Path. Following pilots this autumn, the Vodafone Technical Career Path will expand its coverage, initially bringing into scope up to 7,000 existing employees by April 2022.

Vodafone Fellow – the highest achievable level of the Technical Career Path – was launched recently, and Santiago ‘Yago’ Tenorio, Director of Network Architecture at Vodafone, became the first recipient.

Vodafone recently established Vodafone Engineering to encourage the re-use of code and promotes the sharing of best practice on forums such as GitHub and Stack Overflow. In addition, Vodafone’s #ChangeTheFace movement launched in 2020 to campaign for greater diversity in the technology sector, and has gained the support of more than 300 organisations, including Girl Effect and UN Women.

  • Investment in new digital products and services. In the financial year ending March 2021, Vodafone Technology invested €1.3 billion on developing new digital products and services, and €1 billion on its own digital transformation.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Vodafone also spent €2.6 billion on extending the reach and growing the capacity of its gigabit mobile and fixed pan-European networks. In addition, €0.9 billion was spent on providing customers the latest equipment such as high-end broadband routers, and €2.1 billion went towards maintaining networks and IT systems.

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