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What's the Deal With This SK Telecom & AI Partnership?

Feb. 27, 2024
How will the Perplexity deal and its implications affect the telecom landscape?

It was recently announced that AI startup Perplexity is partnering with Korea's largest telco, for an experiment that signals yet another push from AI into consumers' daily lives.

If you don't already know, Perplexity is one of the major AI companies trying to dig into Google's dominance with a new search engine that uses large-language models (LLMs), similar to OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Perhaps anticipating a potential seismic shift in user search behavior, SK Telecom, South Korea's largest carrier, is partnering with Perplexity to give its 32 million users access to Perplexity Pro.

Perplexity is a generative-AI search product and chatbot that uses an LLM to answer search queries, summarize text, or doing other generative-AI tasks, similar to ChatGPT and Google Gemini (formerly Bard). But Perplexity seems focused on providing a better search engine applies context, conversation, and natural language to deliver fast and useful answers to users' questions better than past technology.

What the Perplexity and SK Telecom deal means for AI and telecom

The details are still being worked out, but Perplexity says SK Telecom users will get "unlimited guided Copilot searches and real-time information on trending events."

If users find this mode of information access useful, it could change the way smartphone users expect to get quick information and answers to their questions, for example, instead of Googling it or selecting a particular app.

Smartphone users have had voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant for a long time now, but the LLM-powered AI technology, still shiny and new, that Perplexity and its competitors use, has capabilities, understanding, and speed that voice assistants have struggled to achieve.

This technology is still so new, which makes it difficult to predict how it will incorporated into consumers' lives in the coming years, but with a deal like this that funnels it directly into the hands of smartphone users who may not have otherwise been acquianted with it, could imply a major shift in what mobile users expect from their devices.

And it's worth wondering what a major increase in the use of LLMs driven by partnerships such as these would do to network capacity, especially if generative images and video are added to the mix.

About the Author

Joe Gillard | Executive Editor

Joe Gillard is a media professional with over 10 years of experience writing, editing, and managing the editorial process across a spectrum of innovative industries. Joe strives to deliver the best possible editorial product by focusing on the needs of the audience, utilizing the data available, and collaborating with a talented team.