Mobile World Live brings you our top three picks of the week, with Deutsche Telekom and SKT partnering on AI, Vodafone backing the 6GHz band and Rakuten Mobile to spend on 700MHz sites.

Deutsche Telekom, SKT to develop AI model for telecoms

What happened: SK Telecom (SKT) and Deutsche Telekom partnered to develop a large language model to enhance digital customer care assistants for the telecoms industry.

Why it matters:  The pair are targeting collaborations with AI giants Anthropic and Meta Platforms, with plans to release the first version of a multilingual model of a chatbot in Q1 2024. The project is the first from an AI alliance formed by SKT, Deutsche Telekom, e& and Singtel earlier this year. HSBC analysts recently identified SKT as pursuing of one the most ambitious AI paths among operators across Asia Pacific.

Vodafone backs 6GHz to fend off capacity crunch

What happened: Vodafone Group tested connectivity in the upper 6GHz band in Spain, achieving download data rates around double those currently available.

Why it matters: The operator reiterated calls for a fair and balanced allocation of the spectrum, arguing it would enable the industry to future-proof services and technologies. Vodafone’s announcement precedes the World Radiocommunication Conference next month, where national regulators and industry members will decide on the future use of the spectrum.

Rakuten Mobile gets 700MHz nod as parent sets cash aside

What happened: Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications approved a Rakuten Mobile request to use the 700MHz band to improve coverage. 

Why it matters: Marc Einstein, chief analyst at Japan-based research company ITR, told Mobile World Live the move is a positive development, giving Rakuten Mobile access to a much better band, but added the move is not a quick fix to all of the operator’s woes, as it will have to spend heavily to convince users its network quality is on par with major rivals.