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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 24, 2024

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[CES 2024] [Herald Interview] SK Telecom to bolster AI ties with big tech firms

  • PUBLISHED :January 15, 2024 - 09:38
  • UPDATED :January 15, 2024 - 09:38
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Kim Yong-hun, chief A. service officer of SK Telecom, speaks during an interview held on the sidelines of CES 2024 in Las Vegas on Wednesday. (SK Telecom)

LAS VEGAS -- South Korea's largest telecom carrier SK Telecom is seeking to expand cooperation with big tech firms to fulfill its vision of becoming a "global AI company," according to its AI assistant service chief on Wednesday.

"SK Telecom’s AI services are anticipated to achieve effective results based on various possibilities and capabilities both here and abroad. To accelerate our global business expansion, we’ve formed a global tech alliance and cooperated with big tech firms," Kim Yong-hun, vice president and head of the company’s AI assistant service called A., told reporters on the sidelines of the CES tech show.

In its big global push, SK Telecom has launched an alliance dubbed the “Global Telco AI Alliance” with major telecom carriers in Germany, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The alliance agreed to make joint efforts to develop new growth engines through new AI-powered business models.

Kim said that more concrete results of the partnership could be unveiled during the Mobile World Congress, an annual gathering of the mobile industry, in Barcelona, Spain, in 2025.

“AI assistant services like the A. could see demand in overseas markets. We are working on how to seek synergy between Korean and overseas services through a one-source, multi-use strategy,” he said

The A. service is an AI assistant app for iPhones that made its debut in September. Its key features include recording during phone calls and real-time translations. Largely due to the recording feature, first for iPhones here, the number of monthly active users exceeded 1.2 million as of December.

Kim hinted that an Android version of the service is also in the works, particularly the translation service, which will be coming out within the first quarter of the year.

“The exact launch schedule (of the Android version) could be adjusted. We are trying to advance the launch to enhance the connectivity of the service,” he added.

Samsung Electronics, the market leader in Android phones, is scheduled to unveil its first AI-powered Galaxy phones during the Galaxy Unpacked event in San Jose, California, this week. The phones' key features also include real-time translation.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

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