Press Release | 12 Apr 2017

Vodafone to use artificial intelligence to speed up online queries

Vodafone to use artificial intelligence to speed up online queries

Vodafone UK has launched TOBi – the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot – as an innovative way of offering our customers a quicker web chat service.

  • TOBi, Vodafone’s new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, is now helping some customers online
  • It will be available soon in the My Vodafone app new messaging service as well, so customers can speak to advisors whenever they want

Vodafone UK has launched TOBi – the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot – as an innovative way of offering our customers a quicker web chat service.  TOBi, a virtual customer services’ agent, can handle a range of customer queries including device troubleshooting, usage and order tracking amongst many others.

Recent research shows that 55% of UK consumers say that the most important factor in the ideal customer experience is getting a prompt and effective response to queries[1], highlighting the need for companies to provide faster and more integrated customer service responses. With 75% of all consumers aged 18-25 already using instant messenger everyday [2], TOBi is our answer to providing customers with the quick and easy web chat service they want.

TOBi is already available to some customers through our online web chat service. Later this month messaging will also be available through the My Vodafone app, so customers will be able to speak to advisors whenever they want and while they are on the go.

The pilot platform is powered by a combination of IBM Watson and LivePerson, in a blend of the two cutting edge technologies. This provides customers with a smooth and efficient way of having simple queries answered, before being seamlessly handed over to web chat advisors if needed. Vodafone continues to assess multiple solutions and technologies to implement the future roll out of the programme.

However, we know that sometimes customers just want to speak to a person.  That’s why in March we started recruiting 2,100 new UK customer services roles across the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland.

Neil Blagden Vodafone UK CS&O Director said: “If customers have a question or want to raise an issue, we know they don’t want to wait.  So introducing TOBi is an exciting step forward in giving our customers the quick and seamless service they want. Our ambition is to give our customers the best experience possible: TOBi is another important step in our journey to achieving that ambition.”



[1] IBM Institute for Business Value Global Telecom Consumer survey Fall 2016:

2 Ibid.

Notes to Editors

  • Visit the Vodafone blog for an in depth look at the new platform:
  • The new platform is part of a £2 billion investment into Vodafone’s network and services over the period 2016-2019.
  • TOBi and in-app messaging has been piloted with live customers over the last 3 months and will gradually be rolled out to customers over the next year.
  • Vodafone continues to assess and implement multiple solutions & technologies to continue to improve our customer service experience with tools like TOBi.
  • More details on TOBi will follow later in the year.




About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:


Vodafone UK Media Relations

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Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


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