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April 21, 2024

SKT-led global AI alliance to form JV

PUBLISHED : February 27, 2024 - 10:41

UPDATED : February 27, 2024 - 10:57

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From left: Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Hottges and board member Claudia Nemat; e& group CEO Hatem Dowidar; SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won; Singtel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon; SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang; and SoftBank’s CISO Tadashi Iida pose for photos at SK Telecom's booth at the Mobile World Congress 2024, in Barcelona, Spain, Monday. (SK Telecom)

A global alliance led by South Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom agreed to establish a joint venture within the year to develop large language models tailored to the needs of telecommunications companies.

The Global Telco AI Alliance, which was launched in Seoul in July last year, held its inaugural meeting at the Mobile World Congress 2024, the world’s largest mobile tech show, in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, with SoftBank joining as a new member.

The key attendees of Monday’s meeting include -- SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won; SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang; Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Hottges and board member Claudia Nemat, who is responsible for technology and innovation; e& group CEO Hatem Dowidar; Singtel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon; and SoftBank’s CISO Tadashi Iida.

The five companies -- SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, e&, Singtel and SoftBank -- agreed to join forces to develop telco-specific LLMs after establishing the joint venture and to help telecom carriers improve their customer interactions via digital assistants and chatbots.

"We as telcos need to develop tailored LLMs for the telco industry to make telco operations more efficient, which is a low-hanging fruit. Our ultimate goal is to discover new business models by redefining relationships with customers," SK Telecom CEO Ryu said.

"The Global Telco AI Alliance brings synergy to its members by allowing them to achieve more by working as a team," he added.

With the joint venture, the companies aim to develop multilingual LLMs optimized for various languages including Korean, English, German, Arabic and Japanese. More languages will be added upon agreement by the founding members.

The companies plan to focus on deploying innovative artificial intelligence applications tailored to the needs of the Global AI Telco Alliance members in their respective markets, enabling them to reach a global customer base of approximately 1.3 billion people across 50 countries.

Telco-specific LLMs are more adjusted to the telecommunications domain and better at understanding user intent compared to general LLMs.

By making it easier for telcos to deploy high-quality generative AI models swiftly and efficiently, telco-specific LLMs are expected to help accelerate the AI transformation of various telco businesses and services, including in customer service.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

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