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Indosat to launch Indonesian-language model for AI in July

Jakarta Post - May 27, 2024

Aditya Hadi, Jakarta – Publicly listed telco firm Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison will launch a large language model (LLM) for the Indonesian language called Garuda in July, according to the company on Tuesday.

The model will allow artificial intelligence technology, such as ChatGPT, to understand interactions in the local language, the company said.

"Today, when you [interact] with ChatGPT, you get results in English. Just imagine a machine talking in Indonesian. A lot of people would benefit and it would happen through NVIDIA's graphics processing units [GPUs]," Indosat's CEO Vikram Sinha said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Indosat signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian developer Tech Mahindra to develop the Garuda language model during the Mobile World Congress in February.

It will be built on the principles of LLM Project Indus, a foundational model designed to converse in Indic languages and dialects.

At the same tech conference, Indosat also announced that it would collaborate with tech giant NVIDIA to allow the telco firm to access NVIDIA's technology and enable the development of local AI infrastructure in Indonesia.

Indosat will offer AI cloud services to public and private enterprises in the country, through its subsidiary Lintasarta, with the first batch of 1,000 NVIDIA GPUs arriving in July.

"There is a significant increase in processing capability for ChatGPT and other tech services, which can now happen in Indonesia, instead of outside the country," Sinha stated.

In the first three months of the year, Indosat recorded Rp 13.8 trillion (US$862.4 million) in revenue, a 15.8 percent increase compared with the same period last year. The net profit grew by 39 percent to Rp 1.3 trillion in the same period.

Its customer base also increased by 2.3 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 100.8 million subscribers in this first quarter.

Among other telcos in the country, Indosat booked the fastest-growing average revenue per user (ARPU) for cellular customers in the first quarter this year due to a base effect, after recording a 13.9 percent yoy surge to Rp 37,500.

Meanwhile, Telkomsel only recorded a 0.2 percent increment to Rp 45,300 and XL saw a 10 percent rise to Rp 44,000 in the same period.

Tech mogul Elon Musk came to Bali on Sunday to inaugurate the service of Starlink, a satellite-based internet provider wholly owned by his aerospace firm SpaceX, in Indonesia. Some analysts have suggested that Starlink's service could be a new competitor to telco companies, including Indosat.

In response, Indosat's Sinha opined that he did not view Starlink and other low-orbit satellite firms in Indonesia as competition for telco companies.

Instead, both parties could team up to provide internet connections to remote islands in the country, including supporting some industries, such as fisheries and defense, he said.

"In Indonesia, one of our biggest challenges is transportation [to provide the backbone network]. So, if I have to go to certain island where they [Starlink] can give me the backbone at a better price, we will be very happy to use those low-orbit satellites to help us. I think these are the use cases that will work," Sinha said.

Source: https://asianews.network/indosat-to-launch-indonesian-language-model-for-ai-in-july