Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom Team Up to Build Customer Service LLM


German and South Korean telecommunications giants Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom have signed an agreement to jointly develop a telecom industry-specific large language model tailored for creating generative AI customer service applications. The two want to accelerate the creation and deployment of generative AI chatbots by telcos worldwide as a way of streamlining and enhancing the necessary problem-solving process.

Telecom LLM

SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom see existing models as incomplete for their needs and believe they must be adapted with industry-specific data to maximize their impact on customer service. The result should provide a superior comprehension of telecom-related inquiries in customer service scenarios. By partnering with each other, both corporations hope to combine their strengths and produce a better quality LLM than they might come up with working alone.

“Through our partnership with Deutsche Telekom, we have secured a strong opportunity and momentum to gain global AI leadership and drive new growth,” SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang explained in a statement. “By combining the strengths and capabilities of the two companies in AI technology, platform, and infrastructure, we expect to empower enterprises in many different industries to deliver new and higher value to their customers.”

That said, the telecom-specialized multilingual model will be co-developed with SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom’s generative AI developer partners. That includes Meta and Anthropic, with whom SK Telecom recently announced a $100 million investment. That deal pointed to this same plan for a new multilingual LLM able to communicate in English, Korean, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish. The final result might fine-tune Anthropic’s generative AI models for telecom customer service needs.

The first version of the jointly trained model tailored for telecom applications will be unveiled in the first quarter of next year. Deutsche Telekom’s Ask Magenta chatbot will be one of the first interfaces leveraging the joint model. Since 2016, Ask Magenta has fielded over 380 million customer service requests through chat. Enhancements this year added speech recognition so users can inquire naturally without keyword constraints. The AI assistant now handles over 4 million customer dialogues annually, freeing employees for complex issues. Ask Magenta already solves a third of inquiries outright, with human agents seamlessly taking over when needed, the company claims.

“AI shows impressive potential to significantly enhance human problem-solving capabilities,” Deutsche Telekom board member Claudia Nemat said. “To maximize its use especially in customer service, we need to adapt existing large language models and train them with our unique data. This will elevate our generative AI tools.”

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