SKT takes major stake in AI contact centre biz Persona AI


The move is the latest in a string of AI-related investments from the South Korean telco, reflecting its ambitions of becoming an ‘AI company’

This week, SK Telecom (SKT) has announced that it has become the third-largest shareholder in Persona AI, a South Korean AI technology firm focussing on AI contact centre (AICC) solutions.

Persona AI has developed a natural language processing engine capable of voice recognition and sentence analysis that can directly handle customer interactions. After interacting with the customer, the AI can make suitable recommendations to the service’s operator and allowing for faster processing of requests and even automation of responses where appropriate.

In this way, businesses can offer 24/7 customer support through consultations with AI chatbots and phone bots, removing the need to connect to the human agent.

SKT says it will work together with Persona AI to co-develop further phone and chatbot products, incorporating SKT’s NUGU speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies alongside Persona AI’s natural language processing and generative technology.

Ultimately, SKT hopes to offer a pre-built AICC service to business customers on a subscription basis, which will encompass the entire AICC process from sales of solutions to consulting, infrastructure construction, maintenance, and business process outsourcing.

“We plan to expand the ecosystem so that voice AI can be used not only in AICC but also in various industrial areas,” said Lee Gyu-sik, SK Telecom’s AICC business manager.

The financial details of the deal and the size of the stake purchased have not been disclosed.

For SKT, the investment in Persona AI is the latest addition to their growing portfolio of AI investments, including, most recently, a $100 million stake in US AI firm Anthropic.

The operator has signalled its intention to become a AI powerhouse for over a year now, with SKT’s Chief Financial Officer Kim Jin Won noting that the firm was “stepping up efforts on all fronts to transform itself into an AI company”.

Back in July, the company joined forces with a trio of international telco giants – e&, Deutsche Telecom, and Singtel – to form the Global Telco AI Alliance, seeking to combine their collective AI expertise to help co-develop new, innovative products for telco customers.

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