LG Uplus goes all in on AI for the enterprise sector

  • The three main telcos in South Korea now all have AI at the heart of their strategies
  • Following in the footsteps of SK Telecom and KT, LG Uplus has unveiled an ambitious plan for AI-fuelled business growth 
  • It is targeting $1.4bn in revenues from its new AI-driven enterprise services by 2028

LG Uplus is playing AI catch-up with its telco rivals in South Korea with the launch of an ambitious AI-fuelled enterprise services strategy that the company hopes will drive 2tn won ($1.4bn) in annual revenues by 2028. 

The South Korean telco unveiled its goal to become an “AI business operator” in its mid- to long-term growth strategy, dubbed ‘All in AI’: That name signifies that LG Uplus will “concentrate its entire company’s capabilities on AI and apply AI to all services to grow together with corporate customers,” noted Kwon Yong-hyun, head of the telco’s enterprise services division.

As part of the strategy, the operator is developing and deploying AI infrastructure (including datacentres) and generative AI platforms (large language models) in an effort to position itself as a leading AI operator in the enterprise (B2B) services sector. 

It plans to focus on delivering AI-enabled services in four specific service sectors: AI contact centres (AICC); corporate customer communications; small and medium-sized business on-device applications; and transport – the company explained in a statement (in Korean).

For the AICC sector, it plans to make use of Exigen, the small large language model (sLLM) it launched in June. According to the telco, this will provide answers tailored to the characteristics of a customer’s sector and it will install industry-specific customised functions.

In the corporate customer communication sphere, LG Uplus will launch a product that integrates AI into all client communication channels later this year in a bid to boost operational efficiencies and improve competitiveness while reducing costs.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, the telco plans to offer an advanced package that integrates on-device AI into various hardware products, such as kiosks, CCTV systems and phones.

In the transport sector, LG Uplus will introduce AI into its cargo transport services to help with reservation, dispatching and settlement functions.

Underpinning its efforts will be its AI datacentre (AIDC) facilities and its on-device AI applications, all of which it plans to develop in partnership with “leading domestic and foreign companies”.

Its in-house developed Exigen LLM will play a key role in the services offered from its AIDC facilities and the company claims it will be the only operator in South Korea with three hyperscale datacentres – it has two currently and one in development.

For its on-device AI strategy, the operator is developing an AI semiconductor that combines Exigen with capabilities from domestic chip design company DeepX later this year to offer a chip with lower pricing and commercialisation time compared to existing AI semiconductors. The telco will also use on-device AI solutions across its own businesses.

LG Uplus also plans to develop Exigen by providing industry-specific versions for verticals such as finance, education and security. The scale of the sLLM will vary according to a customer’s requirements.

The telco said it is seeking “all-out cooperation” with companies that provide AI solutions and platforms, as well as research institutions, to build an AI ecosystem.

LG Uplus is the third-largest telco in South Korea and appears to be somewhat behind its rivals in terms of AI exploration and implementation. Market leader SK Telecom (SKT) unveiled its ambitious plan to become “an AI company” in November 2022 and presented its three-layer Pyramid Strategy in September 2023. The country’s other main telco, KT, set itself a goal to be “reborn as an AICT company”, according to the company’s CEO at this year’s MWC Barcelona in February.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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