Telstra CEO Vicki Brady (pictured) said the operator’s ambition to become an “AI-fuelled” organisation and leader in Australia will only be achieved through ongoing collaboration with partners, while investments in talent and cloud-based infrastructure will also play a crucial role. 

Speaking on a panel during The Digital Vision for Telcos keynote, Brady acknowledged no company can do this alone. She cited Accenture and Microsoft as two key technology partners and pointed to engagements with customers and other industry sectors such as banking, with the joint launch of go-to-market products. 

AI has to be a “whole business strategy, it’s not a technology strategy,” she added, noting it was “embracing it to fix some of the biggest pain points and opportunities that we see inside our business.” 

The executive highlighted its frontline teams have been asked to use generative AI to better serve customers with its recently introduced the Ask Telstra digital assistant enabling employees to search the company’s internal knowledge bases quickly and easily. 

Skills drive 
Elsewhere on the panel, Ethio Telecom CEO Frehiwot Tamiru delved into the topic of investing in new talent and improving skills. 

The executive explained her company is collaborating with educational and training establishments to ensure that the “latest advanced technologies such as AI” are incorporated into educational curricula.  

According to Tamiru, it is time to place talent strategies at the centre of an operator’s business, alongside technology and marketing strategies, so that we “transform the industry, and also build the ecosystem”.  

Meanwhile, speaking earlier in the keynote, Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges outlined the German operator’s multi-pronged approach to AI, and highlighted the transformative effect of AI on business models and future processes. 

“We stopped counting after 400 cases within our organisation where we are already using AI”, he remarked.  

Hoettges also made reference to DT’s presentation at MWC24 of an app-free, AI phone concept, developed in partnership with Qualcomm and “In five to ten years’ time, no one will be using apps,” he said.