South Korea’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT) plans to invest KRW5 trillion ($4.1 billion) over the next three years to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology and services.
SKT said in a statement the investment strategy will focus on creating a “new ecosystem” for AI, self-driving cars and IoT, Yonhap news agency reported. Research will be coordinated with SKT’s SK Broadband and SK Planet affiliates.
A part of the investment will be allocated to support local start-ups, the operator said.
At CES in Las Vegas last week, SKT said it held discussions with Samsung, Nvidia and Intel about cooperating on AI, connected cars and IoT initiatives, according to Yonhap.
Separately, SKT announced it will invest KRW6 trillion in its 5G network by 2019, with the aim of launching commercial service in 2020. The operator is employing a two-track 5G network strategy: an evolutionary path moving from LTE-Advanced; and a revolutionary approach pushing New Radio (NR) technology.
Rival KT said last month it will complete the construction of a trial 5G network in parts of Korea by September, in preparation for a pilot service of the high-speed technology at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Despite KT’s ambitious targets, 5G isn’t expected to be officially ratified as a technology until 2018, with widespread commercial launches expected from 2020.