Five big operators team up for ‘telco-specific’ LLM AI

L-R: Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges, Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation, Claudia Nemat, e& Group CEO Hatem Dowidar, SK CEO Chey Tae-won, Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon, SKT CEO Ryu Young-sang and SoftBank CISO Tadashi Iida © SK Telecom

A group of leading international telecom operators has teamed up to build Large Language Model (LLM) AI specifically to meet the needs of telcos.

Announcing the plan at the Mobile World Congress expo taking place in Barcelona, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, the UAE’s e& Group, Singapore’s Singtel, Japan’s SoftBank Corp. and Korea’s SK Telecom said they had held the inaugural meeting of the Global Telco AI Alliance (GTAA) at the show and that they plan to establish a joint venture.

The meeting was attended by SK’s Chairman Chey Tae-won, SKT’s CEO Ryu Young-sang, Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Höttges and DT’s Board Member for Technology & Innovation, Claudia Nemat, e& Group’s CEO Hatem Dowidar, Singtel Group’s CEO Yuen Kuan Moon, and SoftBank’s CISO Tadashi Iida.

Through the Joint Venture Company, the five companies plan to develop Large Language Models (LLMs) specifically tailored to the needs of telecommunications companies (telcos). The LLMs will be designed to help telcos improve their customer interactions via digital assistants and chatbots.

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

The group said that telco-specific LLMs are more attuned to the telecommunications domain and better at understanding user intent.

Deutsche Telekom has about 250 million subscribers across 12 countries, including Germany and the US. The e& Group has 169 million subscribers in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, while the Singtel Group has 770 million subscribers in 21 countries, including Australia, India, and Indonesia.
The group plans to establish the joint venture company within this year.

“We want our customers to experience the best possible service. AI helps us do that. Already today, more than 100,000 customer service dialogues a month in Germany are handled by Generative AI. By integrating telco-specific large language models, our ‘Frag Magenta’ chatbot becomes even more human-centric: AI personalizes conversations between customers and chatbots. And our joint venture brings Europe and Asia closer together,” said Claudia Nemat, member of the board of management for technology and innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

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