Artificial Intelligence Future Capability Paper



This paper is one in a series of reports on future telecom capabilities in the UK, with the sole focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI serves as a catalyst to drive the transformation of the telecommunications industry, enabling its growth by leveraging advanced algorithms and data analytics. In parallel, telecom networks are one of the critical infrastructures that play a crucial role in facilitating the development and deployment of AI technologies, serving as an enabler for the widespread adoption and utilisation of AI across the sectors.

In the current trends, AI has seen significant consideration in 5G and beyond. Furthermore, the complex interplay between AI and Telco in the coming 6G era leads to opportunities for Telco networks, where new ways of operation, services and business are arising from a dynamic mix of cutting- edge technologies including network, AI, data, and compute towards an AI- native 6G vision.

It is changing the landscape, without leaving out the incumbent players, towards a group of innovative newcomers, system integrators, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and research entities. Rapid and transformative changes, possibly driven by ascendancy of AI advancements such as Generative AI (Gen AI), are also expected to bring new entrants, and bring in strategic shifts among the stakeholders, reshaping the Telco industry with innovation and adaptation.

Although some of these technology trends are evident, the rapid pace of advancement in the field of AI far outpaces the traditional decade-long planning cycles for each generational upgrade, to which the Telco industry is accustomed. This accelerated rate of technological change poses considerable challenges in analysing the Telco AI landscape and its evolution over the next 5-10 years, even for experts.

This release of the paper is a result of comprehensive analysis conducted in the UKTIN AI Expert Working Group on the role AI plays in telecommunications, through their understanding of the status quo and emerging trends and technologies.

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