It has been an exciting journey since the mobile communications and artificial intelligence (AI) were conceived in 1983 and 1956. While both fields evolved independently and profoundly changed communications and computing industries, the rapid convergence of 5th generation mobile communication technology (5G) and AI is beginning to significantly transform the core communication infrastructure, network management, and vertical applications. The paper first outlined the individual roadmaps of mobile communications and AI in the early stage, with a concentration to review the era from 3rd generation mobile communication technology (3G) to 5G when AI and mobile communications started to converge. With regard to telecommunications AI, the progress of AI in the ecosystem of mobile communications was further introduced in detail, including network infrastructure, network operation and management, business operation and management, intelligent applications towards business supporting system (BSS) & operation supporting system (OSS) convergence, verticals and private networks, etc. Then the classifications of AI in telecommunication ecosystems were summarized along with its evolution paths specified by various international telecommunications standardization organizations. Towards the next decade, the prospective roadmap of telecommunications AI was forecasted. In line with 3rd generation partnership project (3GPP) and International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) timeline of 5G & 6th generation mobile communication technology (6G), the network intelligence following 3GPP and open radio access network (O-RAN) routes, experience and intent-based network management and operation, network AI signaling system, intelligent middle-office based BSS, intelligent customer experience management and policy control driven by BSS & OSS convergence, evolution from service level agreement (SLA) to experience level agreement (ELA), and intelligent private network for verticals were further explored. The paper is concluded with the vision that AI will reshape the future beyond 5G (B5G)/6G landscape, and we need pivot our research and development (R&D), standardizations, and ecosystem to fully take the unprecedented opportunities.
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