SK Telecom and Singtel partner to develop next-generation telco technology and solutions

Singtel and SK Telecom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on building next-generation telecommunications networks that will drive innovation, improve network performance and security and deliver enhanced customer experiences over the next two years. The partners will explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI), orchestration tools, and deepen the domain knowledge of network virtualisation and other technologies – central to laying the necessary building blocks for progressing to 6G. 

Additionally, SKT and Singtel will be putting together a white paper on their advancements in areas such as virtualisation, slicing and network evolution that can help other telcos globally to capitalise on the capabilities of 5G and to prepare for 6G.

Mr Kang Jong-ryeol, Head of ICT Infra, SK Telecom, said, “The collaboration between SKT and Singtel marks a significant first step in shaping the future of the global telecommunications industry.” He further emphasised, “By combining the strengths of both companies, we aim to achieve significant advancements in next-generation communication technologies such as 6G and AI infrastructure.”

The partners will also work together on developing differentiated innovative solutions to elevate their network capabilities such as Edge-AI Infrastructure, which reduces the computational burden concentrated on the cloud through edge computing and performs AI inference by combining AI solution. This initiative is expected to not only enhance connectivity but also provide customers with unique AI service offerings and enable the operators to restore services faster, thus improving the customer experience.

Ms Anna Yip, Deputy CEO and CEO Business Development, Singtel Singapore, said, “As a global leader in 5G technology, we’re keen to capitalise on the myriad of capabilities this technology has to offer, especially in the areas of network slicing and with the inclusion of AI. With SKT, we’re looking to not only enhance the experience of our customers but to also drive industry innovation and help us prepare for the evolution to 6G.”

Laying the foundation towards 6G

The MOU will see the partners collaborating on the following areas:

  • Developing more network slicing capabilities and explore various implementations of activating dedicated, customised slices of their networks that will better meet the diverse and dynamic demands of society and industry.
  • By leveraging Singtel’s telco cloud which offers scalable and agile network components that extend from the core to the transport and radio access networks, the partners will be able to push the boundaries of network virtualisation. Together, they aim to develop a fully-disaggregated mobile network which will provide a more flexible, cost-effective, and scalable approach to network design and management.
  • SKT and Singtel will jointly developing standardised telco application programming interfaces (APIs), facilitated by an Open Gateway, an interoperable and federated network with open standard APIs that will accelerate the development and growth of services in areas such as fintech, identity, smart mobility, gaming and Web3. This will make it easier for developers to create and deploy new services that can be easily integrated into networks.
  • In managing the anticipated complexity of 6G networks, the partners will collaborate to build more efficient orchestration platforms like Singtel CUBE, a unified suite of network solutions that helps enterprises to manage multiple services and vendors from a single digital portal. These platforms will help enterprises to better automate and coordinate various network functions and streamline service delivery, seamlessly and efficiently.
  • The partners will further explore the capabilities of automation and AI to enhance operational efficiency and sharpen service responsiveness, which will set the foundations for a 6G era.

SKT and Singtel are also founding members of the Global Telco AI Alliance with Deutsche Telekom, e&, and SoftBank Corp. who aim to accelerate AI transformation of the existing telco business and develop new growth drivers through new AI-powered business models. In June 2024, the members signed a Joint Venture (JV) agreement to co-develop and launch multilingual Large Language Models (Telco LLM) specifically tailored to the needs of telcos.

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