Connectivity

AI is gaining steam in the telecom business, industry professionals say

Customer service is the most popular artificial intelligence application among network operators.
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· 3 min read

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Move over, 5G: There’s a new acronym dominating telecom boardrooms.

A majority of surveyed telecom professionals reported that “AI is important to their company’s success,” according to a recent Nvidia report that queried more than 400 people, from C-suite executives to IT managers.

  • 48% of respondents said they were assessing or using AI technology in a pilot phase as of 2023
  • 41% reported they were actively implementing AI
  • Only 10% of those surveyed weren’t using or experimenting with AI at all

Breakout star: Nvidia found that generative AI—in which large language models can spin up new content based on the data fed into them—broke into the industry in a big way last year. The application didn’t even factor into the company’s 2022 survey, but in 2023, 43% of respondents “reported they were investing in it, showing clear evidence that the telecom industry is enthusiastically embracing the generative AI wave to address a wide variety of business needs,” according to the report.

Improved customer service and employee productivity are the main areas where telecom companies are applying AI, Nvidia found, but it’s growing in popularity for internal management, too.

Respondents said that providing virtual assistance, offering recommendations, and managing customer turnover are all common customer-facing AI tasks. Other applications include security (42%), network predictive maintenance (37%), network planning and operations (34%), and transaction fraud detection (28%).

Getting the band together: For even more evidence that AI is becoming a telecom buzzword, look no further than the GSMA Mobile World Congress summit in Barcelona. On Monday, Nvidia joined telecom heavyweights including Ericsson, T-Mobile, and Samsung in announcing a coalition that seeks to further integrate AI into a new wave of mobile networks via testing and research efforts.

According to a news release, the member companies say implementing AI can “enhance mobile network efficiency, reduce power consumption, and retrofit existing infrastructure” as 5G evolves into 6G.

“AI will fundamentally change the way wireless services are deployed and enable broad innovation and operational efficiency across the telco sector,” Mohamed Awad, an SVP at semiconductor manufacturer Arm, said in a statement. “The AI-RAN Alliance brings together industry-shaping companies with expertise from silicon through software to deliver on the promise of ubiquitous AI and 6G.”

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.