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14 Jun 2021

Creating a digital future for all that’s sustainable, inclusive and fair

Four months into his role as CEO of Vodafone UK, Ahmed Essam outlines his vision for the company at the launch of the Vodafone Reinvent 2021 virtual press conference.

I was really excited today to host our Reinvent virtual press conference and to speak to the media for the first time as the new CEO of Vodafone UK.

It was a wonderful opportunity to share my vision for our newly reinvigorated company. My vision revolves around two things. One, offering the very best products and services to our customers. Two, building a future that is sustainable, inclusive and fair. They are inherently interlinked, and I think Vodafone is uniquely placed to make them a reality.

There are two reasons for this. First, we are an agile challenger in this market, committed to investing to grow. This means we are able to offer our customers the best quality fixed and mobile products at great value, working with the right partners and using our own fantastic network to deliver reliable, fast connectivity wherever and however our customers need it.

Second, we can draw on the skill and scale of the wider Vodafone Group, where I was Chief Commercial Operations & Strategy Officer before taking on this role. This powerful resource will help us bring the best innovation, technology, products and partnerships from around the world to our customers.

Behind the scenes at Vodafone Reinvent 2021

So what does this mean in practice?

The launch of our flexible EVO plan today, and our recently launched Pro Broadband packages, are just two examples of us offering our customers the best quality products and services for the best value.

EVO gives more choice and flexibility for our customers, enabling them to have the device they want at the price they choose. They now have more flexibility over contract length, trade-in and upgrades at a great value price, all backed by our state-of-the-art network.

And Pro Broadband simply gives our customers unbreakable broadband at an unbeatable price.

Our commitment to investing in our network and working with network partners means we can bring brilliant connectivity to more people, places and things, And we’re always innovating – take our commitment to new OpenRAN technology as just one example. Our agility makes us more responsive to our customers’ needs and enables us to develop new products and services at speed, from IoT devices, such as our award-winning Curve GPS trackers, to our suite of cybersecurity services for small businesses.

Closing the digital divide

But I also want us to use our technology to help build a digital future that’s better for everyone.

Digital inclusion – connecting the disconnected – is a core part of our purpose as a company

Technology can enhance our lives in so many ways – just think how much we do online these days, particularly as a result of the pandemic lockdowns. But many people don’t have access to it. And even if they do, many don’t know how to make the most of it. We want to change that, because digital inclusion – connecting the disconnected – is a core part of our purpose as a company.

Improving the lives of our customers, and those living in digital poverty, will always be at the heart of Vodafone’s mission. This is why the launch of our Buy One, Give One initiative with Vodafone Together is so important as part of our commitment to connect one million people who don’t have access to the many benefits our digital society can offer. And we’re going to achieve this by the end of 2022.

As a rugby fan myself, I’m delighted that Lions, England and Saracens rugby star Maro Itoje has joined forces with us to help drive this campaign. I know he feels just as passionately as we do about closing the digital divide in this country.

Maro Itoje supporting Vodafone's pledge to connect one million people in digital poverty by the end of 2022.
Lions, England and Saracens rugby star Maro Itoje is supporting Vodafone’s pledge to connect one million people in digital poverty

We’re also determined to help small businesses emerge stronger from the pandemic – committing to helping 100,000 of them across the UK develop the skills and the confidence they need to get online and thrive in this new digital world.

Protecting our planet

Of course, we need to achieve all these aims while reducing our impact on the planet – climate change is probably the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. We’ve already done a lot to reduce our carbon footprint using science-based targets – by this summer, all our electricity will come from renewable sources.

But now we’re going further, faster. We’re pledging to eliminate all carbon emissions from our own activities by 2027 and those of our suppliers by 50% by the same year.

We’re looking to produce our own energy through solar and other technologies, and reduce our energy usage in a number of ways, from using more efficient batteries, to adopting natural cooling methods in our base stations through the use of IoT sensors and remote monitoring.

To sum up, we’re transforming our company into one that will offer the best products and services for our customers, backed by the best network. And we’re building a digital future that’s sustainable, inclusive, and fair for all the communities we serve.

#TogetherWeCan

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