By Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's major telecom firms are expanding artificial intelligence (AI)-based services ranging from mobility to factory operations, industry insiders said Wednesday, as they search for new growth engines beyond the mobile communications business.
Last month, LG Uplus Corp. joined an AI research alliance that includes its local rival KT Corp. and electronics giant LG Electronics Inc. to better develop human-like algorithm solutions.
LG Uplus also launched an augmented reality (AR)-based navigation service with Kakao Mobility Corp. that incorporates AI technology.
Available on its navigation app for 5G smartphones, it uses AR holograms to provide driving directions and road information in real time, based on AI suggestions.
SK Telecom Co., the country's leading mobile carrier, has been reportedly working with Samsung Electronics Co. and the country's top mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp. to boost its competitiveness in the sector.
Earlier this week, SK Telecom inked a deal with Hwashin Co., an automotive parts maker, to install an AI-powered quality control system at all of its local production lines over the next five years.
The system automatically detects defective products based on their sound during the manufacturing process, according to the carrier.
KT plans to offer an AI-based climate and energy control system for buildings with its real estate subsidiary KT estate Inc.
The AI is currently being tested to find optimal energy consumption and climate levels for its headquarters building in central Seoul by analyzing 5 million pieces of data collected from sensors every day, according to KT.
Telecom operators' AI services come amid lukewarm performance from their main mobile business.
SK Telecom's average revenue per user from its mobile business in the first quarter fell 1.4 percent on-quarter, while that of LG Uplus edged up only 0.2 percent. KT's average revenue per user rose 1.4 percent over the same period.