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Anthropic and SK Telecom team up to build AI model for telcos

The customised version of the developer's Claude model will be used by the new Global Telecom Alliance's new AI telecom platform.

By Ryan Morrison

AI lab Anthropic is working with South Korea’s largest telecom company SK Telecom on a new global telecommunication-focused large language model (LLM). The partnership also saw SKT invest $100m in the US-based developer.

Anthropic will fine-tune and customise its existing Claude large language model to work with the telecom industry (Photo:  T. Schneider/Shutterstock)
Anthropic will fine-tune and customise its existing Claude large language model to work with the telecom industry. (Photo by T. Schneider/Shutterstock)

Anthropic is one of a handful of AI labs focused on building foundation models, chatbots and working towards next generation artificial general intelligence (AGI). Founded by former OpenAI executives, it released a new version of its Claude AI model last month.

Google is one of the biggest investors in Anthropic, extending its investment in May by joining a $450m funding round in the start-up. This round also included investment from Salesforce Ventures, Zoom Ventures and Spark Capital bringing Anthropic’s value to $4.1bn.

The new funding from SK Telecom builds on its own investment as part of that earlier Series C funding round, but the company has not confirmed the value of its total stake in Anthropic.

The agreement will see the AI lab fine-tune Claude, with support from SK, to ensure it meets the needs of global telecoms companies. This will include adding specific skills for customer service, marketing, sales and consumer application targeted to the telecom industry use case. 

New global AI telco alliance

Jared Kaplan, co-founder and chief science officer for Anthropic will lead the projects, including setting the product roadmap and direction of customisation. It will then be available on a new Telco AI Platform in development by the Global Telco AI Alliance. This is a partnership between networks including SKT, Deutsche Telekom, e& and Singtel announced earlier this year.

“SKT has incredible ambitions to use AI to transform the telco industry,” said Dario Amodei, co-founder and CEO of Anthropic. “We’re excited to combine our AI expertise with SKT’s industry knowledge to build a LLM that is customised for telcos.”

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The Global Telco AI Alliance confirmed the new AI platform last month to serve as the core foundation for new AI services. This includes creation of digital assistants, improving existing telecom services and new “super apps” to offer a range of AI-powered services.

Each of the companies involved have appointed a c-suite level representative to coordinate the overall collaboration. This will include working out ways to utilise generative AI within the sector and work across an open-vendor approach to technology. 

Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SK Telecom said the two companies would work to promote global AI innovation. “By combining our Korean language-based LLM with Anthropic’s strong AI capabilities, we expect to create synergy and gain leadership in the AI ecosystem together with our global telco partners.”

Outside of this alliance companies like Vodafone and BT are also actively exploring ways to utilise generative AI. Vodafone is using it with IoT devices to monitor and reduce network emissions in the UK. They are using their own in-house big data analytics platform, alongside 11,500 UK radio base stations to look for “consumption anomalies.”

Read more: Frontier Model Forum: OpenAI and partners launch AI safety group

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