Vodafone Group unveiled plans to add 7,000 software engineers to its European technical workforce by 2025, as it targets developing new digital platforms in-house for use in its own operations and by third parties.

The company announced it would fill the roles from a mixture of retraining and reallocating current staff and recruitment from elsewhere. Freshly enlisted employees will join 9,000 existing technical staff in the newly formed Vodafone Technology unit, which will operate across its European footprint.

Along with the formation of digital hub sites in the region, Vodafone estimated the efforts would halve the time-to-market for launching new products and services, and enable launches in multiple markets simultaneously.

At a media briefing, Vodafone CTO Johan Wibergh (pictured) explained the “connectivity business is very competitive”, adding it is a “very low growth business we’ve been in for a very long time, if you look at the things you wrap around connectivity it tends to have a very different characteristic”.

He added the in-house digital services push provided Vodafone an opportunity for significant revenue growth and service differentiation, noting “when you are only dependent on acquiring products from other companies you know these suppliers will sell the same products to competitors five minutes after we have bought them”.

It will also cut the cost of procurement and IP charges from suppliers.

Vodafone noted its engineers would be free to “experiment and invent new services using cloud-native digital architecture”.

The drive is part of the company’s Tech 2025 strategy which includes development of in-house IoT platforms; providing common APIs for its innovations to build its partner ecosystem; increasing use of software and cloud within its network; and broadening adoption of AI and machine learning.

Vodafone indicated African subsidiary Vodacom is set to follow a similar strategy, with its efforts centred on the extension of digital and financial services.