How Mobile Networks Embrace AI

AI continues to integrate into various aspects of technology, it's not just the devices but AI networks are experiencing a transformation.

As AI continues to integrate into various aspects of technology, it’s not just the devices but also the AI networks that are experiencing a transformation.

Our mobile phones are getting a whole lot smarter, but what about the telecom networks they run on? This increased use of AI means phones will be doing a lot more computing, and that means they’ll produce and use a lot more data, potentially putting more strain on the mobile phone networks, such as the UK’s O2, EE, Vodafone, and Three.

Increased Data Usage and Network Strain

With the rise of AI in mobile phones, data usage is set to increase significantly, putting additional pressure on mobile phone networks. To manage this surge in data, telecom companies, such as the UK’s O2, EE, Vodafone, and Three are also turning to AI.

Last week, Apple joined the growing trend of integrating AI into mobile phones by announcing Apple Intelligence. This new feature aims to make the iPhone’s operating system and Siri chatbot smarter and more efficient, positioning Siri as an even more capable personal assistant. Apple follows in the footsteps of Samsung’s Galaxy AI and Google’s Gemini AI, which are already enhancing user experiences on their respective devices.

Ian Fogg, director of network innovation at CCS Insight, explains, “Network operators are using AI to manage the radio frequencies dynamically, to provide an optimum level of service. And to manage cell towers, for example, so they use less energy at times of lower demand.”

AI in Telecoms’ Global Adoption

The use of AI to enhance telecom networks is a global trend. In South Korea, Korea Telecom uses AI to detect and fix faults within a minute, thanks to AI-enabled network monitoring. In the US, AT&T employs predictive AI algorithms to anticipate and prevent network issues.

Vodafone is another telecom giant leveraging AI through digital twins – virtual replicas of physical network components like masts and antennas. These digital twins help monitor network performance in real-time. In parallel, AI is being used to optimize the energy consumption of massive data centers, which are crucial for keeping servers cool and efficient.

Preparing for the AI Era with 5G and Beyond

The explosion of data driven by AI is prompting telecom companies worldwide to invest in 5G Standalone networks. These new, dedicated 5G infrastructures offer much higher speeds and capacity compared to the older 4G systems. However, some experts argue that even 5G may not be sufficient to meet the demands of the AI era, suggesting that 6G networks, expected to roll out around 2028, will be necessary for AI to reach its full potential.

AI in Customer Service

AI is also transforming customer service in the telecom industry. The Global Telco AI Alliance – a collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, e&, Singtel, Softbank, and SK Telecom – aims to develop an AI chatbot tailored to the telecom sector. This chatbot will handle basic customer queries, allowing human agents to focus on more complex issues.

Vodafone is using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service to enhance its customer service with its digital assistant, Tobi. Tobi interacts with over 40 million customers monthly across 13 countries and 15 languages, answering queries without the need for human intervention. Scott Petty, Vodafone’s chief technology officer, says, “We see AI primarily as a ‘virtual assistant’ for humans, freeing up Vodafone employees’ time from tedious, repetitive manual work.”

AI in Mobile Phones: Apple vs. Samsung

Apple’s introduction of Apple Intelligence, an AI feature aimed at making iPhones smarter and more efficient, is part of a broader trend of AI integration in mobile devices. This follows Samsung’s Galaxy AI, which also enhances user experiences by integrating AI deeply into its ecosystem of devices.

Both companies aim to streamline user interactions and improve device efficiency, but Apple’s focus on personalizing Siri and other user experiences contrasts with Samsung’s approach, which emphasizes a broader range of smart device integration.

Final Thoughts

Using AI in telecom networks and mobile devices is a big step towards smarter and more efficient technology. As AI keeps getting better, it will make telecom networks stronger and more efficient, improving user experiences and operations. Although some people worry about job losses, experts like Ian Fogg and Alex Sinclair are hopeful that AI can make technology more accessible and the world more efficient.

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