KT, Microsoft forge cloud and AI partnership

KT and Microsoft plan an innovation center and joint R&D into cloud and AI as part of their newly announced partnership.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

June 6, 2024

2 Min Read
Microsoft logo sign in front of it's headquarters.
(SOURCE: KRISTOFFER TRIPPLAAR/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO)

KT has struck a cloud partnership with Microsoft, the latest step in the deepening relationship between US cloud giants and Korean companies. KT CEO Kim Young-shub and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella signed the agreement at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond on Monday.

KT and Microsoft didn’t provide further details of the planned collaboration. Korean news site KEDGlobal, quoting industry sources, reported the two firms were likely to invest “billions” of dollars into the joint projects.

The two companies will set up an AI and cloud innovation center and carry out joint cloud and AI R&D, while KT will also use Microsoft’s cloud technology to deliver data sovereignty and security. KT says it will unveil specifics of the partnership by September.

It will be looking to leverage Microsoft's AI capabilities to build out its Mi:dm LLM, a customizable model aimed at enterprise verticals. It is believed to be Korea's biggest LLM, trained on more than 1 trillion tokens.

It's not KT's only tie-up with a big US cloud vendor. It signed a partnership with AWS during MWC in February to develop GenAI and mobile services for enterprise customers.

Microsoft CEO summit 

Korea is an unusually important market for US AI and cloud firms thanks to chip players Samsung and SK Hynix, who dominate the AI memory market, and also because of the big AI ambitions of KT and rival SK Telecom.

Interestingly, KT did not receive an invite to the Microsoft CEO summit last month, although Samsung, SK Hynix, LG Electronics and SK Telecom did.

SK Telecom, for its part, is working closely with AWS on cloud and AI projects. It said recently it expects to supply its planned Telco LLM to operator customers of AWS – the biggest cloud provider to the industry. It will launch the LLM, developed in partnership with other service providers, including DT and SoftBank, next month.

The operator is also working with AWS on development of AI-based computer vision services and has deployed an AWS cloud optimization solution that cuts operating costs.

But it also has partnered with Microsoft's Open AI, using ChatGPT tech to support a chatbot feature on its A. service.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech (http://www.electricspeech.com). 

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