SK Telecom, global telcos to form AI language model joint venture

Seoul, Feb 26 – SK Telecom, South Korea’s top mobile carrier, said on Monday it will create a joint venture with four global mobile carriers aimed at developing large language models (LLMs) tailored to the needs of telecommunications companies.

The joint venture will be established by SK Telecom, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, the UAE-owned e& Group, Singapore’s Singtel and Japan’s Softbank later this year, according to the South Korean company.

The plan was announced during the Global Telco AI Alliance’s inaugural meeting held at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2024, reports Yonhap news agency.

SK Telecom said the joint venture will develop LLMs that can help telcos improve their customer interactions via digital assistants and chatbots.

The companies aim to develop multilingual LLMs optimized for languages including Korean, English, German, Arabic and Japanese, with plans for additional languages to be agreed on among the founding members.

The envisioned LLMs will likely help the joint venture to reach a global customer base of approximately 1.3 billion across 50 countries, including SK Telecom’s some 31 million subscribers and Deutsche Telekom’s 250 million subscriptions, according to the Korean company.

“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 Young-sang said.


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