(qlmbusinessnews.com Thurs. 27th June, 2024) London, UK —

“UK Telecoms Embrace AI: Enhancing Network Efficiency and Customer Service”

As mobile phones become increasingly intelligent, the telecoms networks that support them are also evolving. Last week, Apple announced the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into its handsets' operating system, dubbed Apple Intelligence. This upgrade aims to enhance user experience and transform Siri into a more effective personal assistant. Apple follows in the footsteps of Samsung's Galaxy AI and Google's Gemini AI for Pixel devices.

With the rise of AI in mobile phones, the data processed and generated will significantly increase, placing additional demands on mobile networks such as the UK’s O2, EE, Vodafone, and Three. To manage this, telecoms companies are also adopting AI, according to Ian Fogg, director of network innovation at CCS Insight.

“Network operators are leveraging AI to dynamically manage radio frequencies and optimise service levels, as well as to manage cell towers, reducing energy usage during periods of low demand,” Fogg explains.

Globally, the implementation of AI in mobile networks is growing. In South Korea, Korea Telecom uses AI-enabled monitoring to detect and resolve network faults within a minute. Similarly, in the US, AT&T employs predictive AI algorithms to anticipate and prevent network issues, using data from trillions of previous alerts.

Vodafone, among other operators, utilises AI digital twins—virtual replicas of real-world equipment like masts and antennas—to continuously monitor network performance. AI also plays a crucial role in managing energy consumption in data centres, optimising cooling and storage.

The surge in data from AI usage is driving telecoms companies to invest in 5G Standalone networks, which rely on new, dedicated infrastructure rather than upgrading existing 4G systems. These 5G networks offer higher speeds and capacity, but some experts believe that even this advanced technology might not fully meet the demands of the AI era. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, some suggested that AI's full potential might only be realised with the advent of 6G in 2028.

AI is Revolutionising Mobile phones

While mobile users often only notice networks when they fail, poor customer service can significantly damage a company's reputation. The telecoms industry hopes AI can revolutionise customer interaction and service. The Global Telco AI Alliance, comprising Deutsche Telekom, e&, Singtel, Softbank, and SK Telecom, plans to develop an AI chatbot tailored to common telecom customer queries. This chatbot aims to handle basic questions, allowing call centre staff to focus on more complex issues.

Vodafone has partnered with Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service to enhance its customer service through its digital assistant Tobi. Tobi interacts with over 40 million customers monthly across 13 countries and 15 languages. By answering more customer queries independently, Tobi reduces the need for human intervention, benefiting both profits and corporate reputation.

“AI acts as a ‘virtual assistant' for humans,” says Scott Petty, Vodafone’s chief technology officer. “AI frees Vodafone employees from repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on more creative activities that benefit our customers and the environment.”

Despite concerns that AI could lead to job losses in the telecoms sector, GSMA’s Alex Sinclair argues that it could be empowering, especially for lower-income countries. “AI provides emerging markets with a tool to help them catch up,” he says. “We aim to democratise AI, ensuring it's accessible to all, not just the wealthy.”

Ian Fogg of CCS Insight shares this optimism: “AI has been used in specific telecoms cases for years. Now, it's being applied in many more areas, enhancing networks, devices, and software, making them more efficient and greener.”

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