SK Telecom, Microsoft ink deal to cooperate on AI, cloud and 5G
Korean telco SK Telecom and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry out cooperation activities in the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud and 5G.
Under the terms of the agreement, SK Telecom and Microsoft will combine their technological capabilities in areas such as 5G, AI and cloud to jointly promote Internet of Things (IoT) business including smart factory, AI technologies and services and media and entertainment services.
To promote smart factory IoT business operations, the two companies had established a business strategic partnership in February 2019 to launch Microsoft Azure with Metatron, SK Telecom’s self-developed big data solution. SK Telecom and Microsoft said they will work together to further upgrade the service and implement joint marketing activities.
Additionally, the Korean telecom carrier aims to combine the capabilities of its AI platform NUGU with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, to offer new AI-powered products and services, including consumer solutions such as smart speakers and other offerings for the enterprise segment.
Moreover, the two companies will work together to create a new level of customer experience in the field of media and entertainment.
Under the terms of the deal, SK Telecom will also adopt Microsoft 365 solution to create a modern workplace and promote a new way of working among its employees. Eventually, SK Telecom will expand Microsoft 365 to other ICT companies under the SK Group umbrella.
“SK Telecom is pleased to join hands with Microsoft as collaboration with global leading companies like Microsoft is essential to gain leadership in the 5G market, where competition is already fierce,” said Park Jung-ho, president and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Microsoft to create an unprecedented value by combining the strengths and capabilities of the two companies.”
“Through the strategic partnership with SK Telecom, we will play a key role in shaping the future and accelerating the digital transformation of the telecommunications industry with our world-class network and technology,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Azure, Microsoft. “This will be a deep and multifaceted partnership that strengthens the power of cloud and AI to deliver innovative new services to customers.”
SK Telecom launched commercial 5G services across the country in April 3. Nationwide coverage is being offered through a total of 34,000 5G base stations in 85 cities.
The company has initially rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including university districts, sports stadiums, highways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom aims to expand its 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.
The operator expects to attract approximately 1 million 5G customers by the end of this year, according to previous reports.
“We have identified media, AR and VR and games as the areas that will go through the most dramatic change in user experience through 5G as well as areas that our customers are most looking forward to, and we are launching related services accordingly,” SK Telecom’s CFO Poong-Young Yoon recently said during a conference call with investors.