SKT strikes metaverse deal with Singtel as it takes ifland global
SK Telecom has agreed a partnership with Singtel to help grow its metaverse business across Asia – the latest in a series of announcements from the Korean operator as it takes its ifland platform global.
SKT formally unveiled the worldwide version of ifland last week, saying it would be available in 49 countries, with telco partners including NTT Docomo and e& (the former Etisalat Group).
ifland is Korea's largest metaverse platform, with 13 million cumulative users joining since it was launched 16 months ago.
In the new Singtel partnership, SKT says it will provide metaverse-related technologies and insights from its ifland operations to the Singapore telco and its affiliates in half a dozen countries in southeast Asia.
Initially it will build localized content for Singapore, including virtual versions of local sites and customized avatars, and will then help stage ifland events for Singtel customers, with the first in January 2023, the companies said in a statement.
Anna Yip, CEO of Singtel Consumer, said: "Together with SKT, we will help drive innovation and unlock new digital use cases in ifland, creating growth opportunities for enterprises and enriching experiences for consumers."
Content development with NTT Docomo
Singtel's affiliates include Optus in Australia, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, AIS in Thailand and Telkomsel in Indonesia.
It's the second metaverse partnership SKT has announced with an Asian telco in eight days, following on from its alliance with NTT Docomo to work on metaverse, digital media and 5G.
SKT says it will collaborate with Docomo to develop virtual content and technologies, with the possibility of linking their respective metaverse services at a future date.
On the worldwide platform, SKT said it would create customized features for each region and help produce local content.
It says it aims to work with a telco partner in each region. However, Deutsche Telekom, which had signed up as its European telco collaborator, was not named.
Research firm Analysys Mason says in its forecast for telecom in 2023 that it expects many more telcos "to align their roadmap to fit the vision of an xR-centric future."
It says operators will take use cases like "VR immersive calls, 3D video calling or digital twin technology more seriously in 2023 and most will formulate a specific metaverse strategy (internally, if not externally)."
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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading