SK Telecom (SKT) struck a two-year agreement with fellow Asia operator Singtel to jointly develop advanced telecoms networks through the use of AI and other technologies, as the pair look to progress towards 6G.

The companies stated they have signed an MoU to build networks “that will drive innovation, improve network performance, security and deliver enhanced customer experiences over the next two years”.

As well as a focus on AI, the duo will explore the use of orchestration tools and deepen the domain knowledge of network virtualisation and other technologies “which are central” to lay the necessary building blocks for 6G.

Other work will include developing solutions to elevate network capabilities, such as edge-AI infrastructure, which they explain is aimed at reducing the computational burden concentrated on the cloud, providing customers with a unique AI service and enables operators to restore services faster.

Finally, SKT and Singtel will put together a whitepaper on their work in areas such as virtualisation, slicing and network evolution, helping other operators globally to capitalise on 5G “and to prepare for 6G”.

Kang Jong-ryeol, SKT’s head of ICT Infra, stated the collaboration “marks a significant first step in shaping the future of the global telecommunications industry”.

Tay Yeow Lian, managing director of Networks at Singtel, added the company was keen to capitalise on the myriad of capabilities 5G has to offer, “especially in the areas of network slicing and with the inclusion of AI”.