MWC22 – SK Telecom (SKT) aims to launch its Ifland metaverse service in 80 countries this year as part of an effort to become a global leader in key next-gen technologies.
In addition, CEO Ryu Young-sang said that the company is taking its AI semiconductor and quantum cryptography tech to international markets.
Ryu told an MWC press conference that Ifland has become a "major new communications platform," receiving more than 1,500 requests for partnership in Korea. He said SKT would open the platform to allow user-generated content and would soon introduce a blockchain-enabled virtual marketplace.
Ifland has been on a fast growth path since its launch last July, reaching 1.1 million monthly active users by the end of 2021, according to SKT's Q4 filing. Time spent by users on the platform has more than doubled during the first six months.
Ifland had already become a popular social venue and a platform for businesses seeking new channels to customers, SKT noted in a press release.
Ryu did not elaborate on Ifland's expansion plans. But Ik-hwan Cho, head of metaverse development, said that the telco plans "to strengthen cooperation" with global telcos.
Additional focus areas
SKT also has great expectations for AI chip subsidiary Sapeon Inc. With the AI semiconductor market growing at 44% annually and expected to be worth 40 trillion won ($33.3 billion) by 2025, SKT believes that Sapeon could reach 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion) in revenue by 2027.
Last month, SKT established Sapeon in the US in a joint investment with SK Square, the SK Group portfolio manager, and memory chip player SK Hynix. SKT will work closely with Sapeon, targeting verticals such as manufacturing, security, media and the auto sector, Ryu said.
In the third key technology, quantum security, SKT was a market leader in Korea through subsidiary ID Quantique, which had applied its technology to SKT's 5G backbone network and helped build a quantum-secured 5G smartphone with Samsung in 2020.
Geneva-based ID Quantique will target the European, North American and Asian markets. It is also expanding its business to blockchain and other quantum solutions.
"With the launch of metaverse, AI semiconductor and quantum cryptography in overseas markets, we will expand our global presence to maintain leadership into the next-generation ICT market," said Ryu.
- The next telco worry is paying for the metaverse
- MWC22 Day 2: To the metaverse and beyond
- SKT cruises to $340M operating profit on mobile, media growth
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading