SK Telecom, one of the biggest mobile carriers in South Korea, is doubling down on AI with a new $100 million investment in San Francisco-based AI startup Anthropic. This adds to SK Telecom's previous backing of Anthropic through its venture capital arm SKTVC.
Notably, this investment comes just 3 months after Anthropic raised $450 million in Series C funding led by Spark Capital to scale development of reliable AI products like its Claude assistant. The rapid funding trajectory highlights investor excitement around Anthropic's approach to developing helpful, honest and harmless AI systems.
The South Korean telecom giant has also inked a partnership agreement with Anthropic to jointly develop a multilingual large language model tailored for telecom applications. By combining Anthropic's advanced natural language processing technology with SK Telecom's industry expertise, the partners aim to create an AI platform that can enable rapid rollout of customized AI services for global telecom carriers.
A key focus will be building a model that supports languages like Korean, English, German, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish to serve SK Telecom’s international alliance of telecom partners. Anthropic’s Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer Jared Kaplan will lead the effort to adapt the startup’s Claude AI assistant to telecom-specific use cases spanning customer service, marketing, sales and consumer apps.
The adapted model will be integrated into the Telecom AI Platform currently under development by the Global Telecom AI Alliance, founded by SK Telecom and comprising partners like Deutsche Telekom and Singapore's Singtel. By providing an industry-optimized model rather than forcing telecoms to build their own from scratch, the platform aims to make rollout of customized AI services quicker and more cost-effective.
For SK Telecom, the deepening Anthropic partnership supports its ambitions to spearhead AI transformation in the telecom industry. For Anthropic, it represents a key opportunity to refine and harden its technology for a business-critical real world application. Both companies forecast significant synergies as they combine their strengths in AI research and telecom services.
With this big bet on AI, SK Telecom aims to turbocharge product development and introduce next-gen customer experiences powered by leading language AI.