The Korea Herald


Korean telcos to show off latest AI tech at MWC

Top three telecom CEOs, SK chief head to Barcelona next week

By Jo He-rim

Published : Feb. 18, 2024 - 15:45

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SKT CEO Yoo Young-sang (SK Telecom) SKT CEO Yoo Young-sang (SK Telecom)

Korea’s leading telecommunication firms are to showcase their latest artificial intelligence technologies and services at the upcoming MWC Barcelona 2024, the world’s largest connectivity show slated for next week in Spain.

The country’s top two mobile carriers SK Telecom and KT revealed their plans Sunday to set up showrooms at this year's event running from Feb. 26 to 29, with exhibitions mainly focused on AI and next-generation 5G and 6G connectivity. LG Uplus, Korea's No. 3 mobile carrier, will be joining the event as an observer.

With the generative AI market expanding fast, this year's MWC Barcelona 2024 has chosen six key words -- 5G, connectivity, manufacturing digital transformation, humanizing AI, game changers and digital DNA -- to match up to its main theme of the event, "Future First," according to the organizer GSMA.

SK Telecom said it will be setting up its 992-square-meter booth at Fira Gran Via, the main venue, to present its latest AI technologies and large language models specialized for telecommunication business operators.

The telecom giant said it will introduce the LLM-applied virtual agent using a chatbot, spam, and smishing detection and filtering service, and an AI call center function at the MWC Barcelona.

Other novel technologies include Litmus Plus, which is an AI-based floating population analysis system, and AI Quantum Camera, which can be applied in various sectors encompassing robotics, security and medical services. There will also be a virtual experience program for visitors to explore its Urban Air Mobility technology, the company said.

“We will showcase the various applications of the core AI technology we possess,” SK Telecom CEO Yoo Young-sang said. “We will pursue a fast transformation to become a global AI company with collaboration with global firms.”

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won is expected to participate in the global event. As SK Telecom launched the Global Telco AI Alliance aimed at boosting AI transformation with three other major global telcos, Deutsche Telekom, e&, and Singtel, in July 2023, the leaders are also likely to hold meetings during the MWC gathering.

KT CEO Kim Young-shub (KT) KT CEO Kim Young-shub (KT)

KT, the country’s second-largest mobile carrier, said it also will be opening an exhibition booth at the upcoming MWC, mainly themed on its next-generation network and AI technologies.

In the NEXT 5G zone, KT will present various network-related services and programs, the company said. The zone will feature an Urban Air Mobility experience and AI air traffic management system, as well as an open network API technology and an engineering platform for high-performance computing.

The company will also demonstrate its latest quantum cryptography technology and energy-cutting technology for telecommunication infrastructure.

At the AI Life zone, KT said it will exhibit the various applications of its LLM model. The telecom giant said it will introduce its AI chip and sovereign AI using its hyper-scale AI foundation model, Mi:dm.

“As an innovative digital technology partner, we are preparing to showcase the next-generation of ICT technology on the global stage,” Lee Jeong-woo, KT’s public relations chief said.

“We will present AI, UAM, and future network technologies, at our MWC KT exhibition for all audiences around the world to explore the digital innovation of the next generation.”

KT CEO Kim Young-shub, who was appointed to the position in August last year, will be attending the event where he is expected to meet with business leaders to forge partnerships.

While KT previously delivered keynote speeches as a member of the GSMA board, it will pass this time. Instead, KT CTO Oh Seung-pil will give a presentation, the company said. Oh is an IT expert who has worked at NASA, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Hyundai Card.

LG Uplus CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik (LG Uplus) LG Uplus CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik (LG Uplus)

LG Uplus will not set up a showroom this year, but its CEO Hwang Hyeon-sik and senior executives will participate in the event and hold meetings with potential partners, including Google and Amazon Web Service, for collaboration, the company said.

"MWC 2024 is an important event where we can check the latest trends of the global telecommunication market and AI and ICT sectors," Hwang said, vowing to make his trip an opportunity to forge new ties to support its future growth.

According to Polaris Market Research, a US-based market tracker, the growth of AI applications in the telecommunication market is expected to grow 10-fold to reach $17.1 billion by the year 2031.