AI joint venture for telcos focuses on customer service to start

AI joint venture for telcos focuses on customer service to start
By: FierceWireless Posted On: March 04, 2024 View: 36

  • The JV aims to develop large language models specifically for telcos

  • GTAA will focus on the low-hanging fruit of customer service chatbots, first

  • The JV will be established within this year

SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, e& Group, Singtel and SoftBank held an inaugural meeting of their new Global Telco AI Alliance (GTAA) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week and announced their plans to establish a joint venture.

The five companies in the GTAA plan to develop large language models (LLMs) specifically tailored to the needs of telcos. 

According to AWS, LLMs are trained on vast amounts of data where they learn to understand basic grammar, languages and knowledge. Data scientists can use GPUs for training LLMs, which often have hundreds of billions of parameters.

Initially, the LLMs developed by the GTAA will focus on helping telcos improve their customer interactions via digital assistants and chatbots — because customers just love chatbots (not).

All told, the members of the GTAA reach a customer base of about 1.3 billion people across 50 countries, including in the U.S. through T-Mobile’s parent company DT.

The goal is to develop LLMs for Korean, English, German, Arabic and Japanese, with potentially more languages added later. Customer service data will help the LLM chatbots better answer questions that customers typically ask.

For instance, customers often ask questions about resetting the equipment in their homes, but telco bots don’t usually have knowledge about all the different types of equipment.

"We, as telcos, need to develop tailored LLMs for the telco industry to make telco operations more efficient, which is a low-hanging fruit,” said Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT.

“Our ultimate goal is to discover new business models by redefining relationships with customers. The Global Telco AI Alliance brings synergy to its members by allowing them to achieve more by working as a team," he added.

Claudia Nemat, board member at Deutsche Telekom for Technology and Innovation, said in a statement about the JV, "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.”

(Ed. Note: In case you were wondering, Frag Magenta is DT's current digital assistant that helps answer customer service questions — and not a throwback to a lesser-known character in 1983's "Fraggle Rock" TV show, as far as we know.)

This was the second AI alliance announced at the global wireless show last week. Softbank, Nvidia, T-Mobile and others also kicked off an AI Alliance focused on the radio access network (RAN).

Check out the rest of the news from Mobile World Congress 2024 here.

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