SK Telecom in cloud, 5G and AI deal with Microsoft for IoT

13 May 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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South Korea’s SK Telecom and Microsoft are to work together on cloud, 5G and other new technologies, the companies have announced from Seoul.

They said they will combine their technological capabilities in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud to jointly promote internet of things (IoT) businesses.

“SK Telecom is pleased to join hands with Microsoft,” said Park Jung-ho, president and CEO of the South Korean company. “Collaboration with global leading companies like Microsoft is essential to gain leadership in the 5G market, where competition is already fierce.”

The deal was signed by Park and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured).

The business areas that the deal will enable include smart factory, AI technologies and services, media and entertainment services, and new ways of working for ICT companies that are under the SK Group umbrella.

This month’s move follows a strategic business partnership Microsoft and SK Telecom set up in February 2019 to launch Microsoft Azure with Metatron, SK Telecom’s self-developed big data solution.

SK Telecom and Microsoft will work together to further upgrade the service and implement joint marketing activities.

Park said: “SK Telecom will work closely with Microsoft to create an unprecedented value by combining the strengths and capabilities of the two companies.”

SK Telecom is already a founder member of the Ngena international partnership for software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) set up three years ago by Deutsche Telekom.

Now SK Telecom plans to combine its AI platform, Nugu, with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. The two companies will work together to offer new AI-powered products and services, including consumer solutions such as smart speakers and other offerings for enterprise.

Jason Zander, executive vice president for Azure at Microsoft, said: “Through the strategic partnership with SK Telecom, we will play a key role in shaping the future and accelerating the digital transformation of the telecommunications industry with our world-class network and technology.”

He added: “This will be a deep and multifaceted partnership that strengthens the power of cloud and AI to deliver innovative new services to customers.”