The Korea Herald


SKT CEO unveils renewed AI vision at MWC

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 27, 2023 - 15:51

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SK Telecom Chief Executive Officer Ryu Young-sang speaks at a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. (SK Telecom) SK Telecom Chief Executive Officer Ryu Young-sang speaks at a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. (SK Telecom)

SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile carrier, said Monday it would look to lead the artificial intelligence transformation in all areas of its business with its advanced technologies and to establish an alliance with major AI service providers to foster an ecosystem.

SK Telecom Chief Executive Officer Ryu Young-sang unveiled the telecommunications giant’s “AI to Everywhere” strategy to lead innovation in a press conference held a day before the annual Mobile World Congress kickoff in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday.

While SKT is in the process of evolving into an AI company, the mobile carrier is looking for a paradigm shift centering on five business areas: customer and technology, time and space, AI transformation for industries, core business model and environmental, social and corporate governance.

To enter the global market, Ryu also announced that the company plans to develop its hyperscale AI service called "A." into a personalized AI model by adding new features that include advanced conversations, customized content and multiple characteristics.

“Starting from next month, we’ll develop new features that will allow users to engage in highly intellectual dialogues, as well as emotional conversations, to make them feel as if they are talking to their friends,” Ryu said, highlighting that the features will likely differentiate the model from OpenAI’s AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT.

An updated version of A. will be available within this quarter. Taking the trade show as an opportunity, SKT looks to build partnerships with global telecommunications giants to launch the localized A. service as well, he added. Launched in May last year, A. has successfully settled in the local market by securing 1 million subscribers within nine months from its beta launch, the company said.

The mobile carrier will also apply its AI technologies by increasing the realm of its business from ground to air and from reality to virtual space, expanding its role from a mobile operator to a mobility operator in urban air mobility and metaverse-related business sectors. It will enter the AI solutions market by realizing its long-term autonomous driving project, the CEO said.

The SKT CEO also cited "AI-based customer service" as the key reason behind the telecommunications giant's transformation into an AI company. "Telecommunications companies are increasingly losing touch with their customers," Ryu said, adding that AI could compensate for these shortcomings.

Meanwhile, SKT will operate an exhibition space at this year's MWC under the theme of "AI, the Wave of Innovation." The company will showcase innovative future technologies like AI, urban air mobility and 6G service. Mobile World Congress 2023 runs through Thursday, with some 1,900 companies from 160 countries participating.