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SK Telecom to invest US$4 billion in IoT and AI

SK Telecom to invest US$4 billion in IoT and AI
South Korea’s leading carrier SK Telecom announced it will invest 5 trillion won (USD $4.17 billion) in information and communications technology (ICT), including artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company will team up with its subsidiaries SK Broadband and SK Planet to use the capital over the next three years, with the main research focus on AI, self-driving vehicle, connected car and IoT technologies required to control a smart home hub and boost energy efficiency.

U.S. chip manufacturer Nvidia has been working closely with SK Telecom on autonomous and connected car systems. Besides, the telecom is also working with Samsung and Intel on IoT, according to Jeong-Ho Park, the CEO of SK Telecom.

A part of the investment will also be used to support local startups in the field. SK Telecom plans to open an “IoT Open House” to provide developers and startup support from product development to commercialization. The facility is expected to be opened in the first half of this year.

The company has previously announced a 6 trillion won (USD $5 billion) investment in 5G network. Together, the two investments are expected to boost the company’s ICT business.

SK Telecom plans to improve the upstream pipeline of 5G, in order to deliver live broadcasting services. One application is that the company’s customers may be able to upload augmented reality or virtual reality video feeds via 5G data connection. The 5G technology is expected to offer a data transmission speed 100 times faster than the existing 4G network.

The company has scheduled to launch its 5G pilot service in the second half of this year and implement full commercialization in 2020.

Earlier this year, SK Telecom finished deploying a low-power wide-area (LoRa) network. The company wants the network to work with its LTE CAT-M network for IoT applications. By the end of 2017, the company expects to see four million IoT devices working on its networks.

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