Vodafone has ambitions for IT liberty with plans to add nearly 7,000 software engineers to its European-wide technical workforce by 2025.
The UK telco says this will be done through a combination of recruitment, re-skilling existing employees and insourcing.
The company wants to bring its software skills in-house, and desires to no longer be a traditional telecommunications company but a “new generation connectivity and digital services provider” across Europe and Africa.
Vodafone will build its products and services and own the intellectual property (IP) rather than sourcing them through suppliers. Insourcing expertise generates savings of 20%, on average, for Vodafone.
The move is also part of Vodafone’s investment to deal with the “demand” for digital connectivity, which it reckons is growing by up to 50% every year, and has been “accelerated by the pandemic”.
The firm made an investment of €8 billion (£6.7 billion) in the last financial year, as part of its aspirations in its “Tech2025 strategic blueprint”. It adds that in the financial year ending March 2021, Vodafone Technology invested €1.3 billion (£1.1 billion) on developing new digital products and services, and €1 billion (£845.5 million) on its own digital transformation.
Along with that, the company plans digital skills hubs across Europe, so it can launch new products and services 50% faster and in multiple countries at the same time.
The new intake of software engineers will join 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 cybersecurity services across Europe.
By 2025, the UK multinational says 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.
According to the firm, it has 300 million mobile customers, 28 million fixed broadband and 22 million TV customers.
It 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.