Singtel, SK Telecom collaborate on 6G R&D

Singtel and SK Telecom (SKT) have forged yet another partnership, one focused this time on researching next-generation mobile networks.

Nick Wood

July 8, 2024

3 Min Read

They have drawn up a fairly comprehensive list of research areas covering various foundational technologies that are relevant to 6G.

First up, they will work on new network slicing capabilities that can meet an increasingly diverse set of user requirements. Next, using Singtel's telco cloud, the two operators plan to take virtualisation to new heights, developing a fully disaggregated network that offers a more flexible, cost-effective, and scalable approach to network design and management.

The partnership also covers joint development of new telco APIs based on Open Gateway, focusing on areas such as fintech, identity, smart mobility, gaming and Web3.0.

In addition, Singtel and SKT also aim to build new service orchestration platforms that allow enterprises to manage multiple services and vendors from a single digital portal. In so doing, these platforms should enable enterprises to better automate and coordinate various network functions, and streamline service delivery.

Unsurprisingly, AI has a role to play in this partnership too. Singtel and SKT want to leverage automation and AI to improve operational efficiency and make services more responsive.

"The collaboration between SKT and Singtel marks a significant first step in shaping the future of the global telecommunications industry," said Kang Jong-ryeol, head of ICT infra at SKT. "By combining the strengths of both companies, we aim to achieve significant advancements in next-generation communication technologies such as 6G and AI infrastructure."

Anna Yip, Singtel Singapore's deputy CEO and CEO of business development, chimed in too: "As a global leader in 5G technology, we're keen to capitalise on the myriad capabilities this technology has to offer, especially in the areas of network slicing and with the inclusion of AI. With SKT, we're looking to not only enhance the experience of our customers but to also drive industry innovation and help us prepare for the evolution to 6G."

Singtel and SKT plan to share the results of their endeavour by producing a white paper, which will give other operators an opportunity to benefit from their research.

Singtel and SKT have developed a habit of teaming up with each other when a new industry trend or technology emerges.

They are both founding members of the Global Telco AI Alliance, which has moved quickly to capitalise on the excitement swirling around generative AI (GenAI) by setting itself up as an all-singing, all-dancing joint venture.

In late 2022, Singel and SKT agreed to work together to promote metaverse development in their respective operating footprints, beginning with Singapore. By early January 2023, they had jointly hosted their first virtual meet-up on SKT's Ifland metaverse platform.

Before that, in early 2019, they teamed up to foster Asia's gaming and esports scene, pledging to leverage their respective channels to scale up regional events and leagues, and produce original content. They were joined a year later by Thailand's AIS, whereupon they agreed in principle to turn their partnership into a joint venture.

With a well-established track record of collaboration, this latest MoU between Singtel and SKT probably stands a better chance than most of delivering some tangible results.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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