On February 27 at MWC Barcelona 2023, South Korean network operator SK Telecom (SKT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile US to jointly explore opportunities for expanding its metaverse platform ifland into Germany and the U.S.
Image Credit: SKT
The three companies will begin to conduct market tests in the U.S. and Germany in the second quarter of this year, with the main goal of the trials being to try “more diverse metaverse services in Europe and the U.S.”
SKT, Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile US will also produce content tailored to local preferences, and will jointly promote the metaverse offering.
The ifland platform is also set to be made available to more countries in South East Asia, and the telco has agreed a partnership with its Malaysian partner CelcomDigi to boost its ifland user numbers in the country and develop new business models. It will also be made available to all 11 subsidiaries of Axiata operating in the ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations) and South Asian regions, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nepal.
SKT and Axiata also plan to develop “metaverse platform-related business models” and create business opportunities based on artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the competitiveness of these models.
By expanding its metaverse service into the Southeast Asian market, where Korean culture such as K-content is gaining popularity, SKT expects to expand ifland’s services and develop new business opportunities.
“As we advance into the global market with our metaverse platform ifland, major telecommunications companies in each country and region play an important role as our partners,” said Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT. “Going forward, we will continue to work closely with diverse global companies to expand the scope of our metaverse service.”
“The collaboration between the leading Malaysian telecoms operator serving more than 20 million customers and global ICT leader SKT will set the stage for the nation’s metaverse development, and drive growth and digitalisation within the digital economy,” said Datuk Idham Nawawi, CEO of CelcomDigi. “We look forward to working together on leveraging innovative technologies and practices particularly in virtual spaces to develop and deliver a wider range of innovative solutions for our customers and Malaysian businesses.”
“Axiata is deeply committed to leveraging emerging technologies towards the inclusive advancement of Societies and Economies across Asia,” said Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO of Axiata. “We are proud to partner with SKT and the ifland platform and consider the partnership a significant component of our participation in the metaverse going forward.”
SKT pointed out that each of the three operator partners has more than 100 million customers, giving it a solid foundation on which to expand the international impact of ifland. The company’s CEO, Ryu Young-sang, pointed out that partnering with major telcos “in each country and region” plays a key role in advancing ifland’s influence, so it plans to continue working closely with global companies to broaden the scope of the service.
SKT’s metaverse platform launched in June 2021 and after an initial collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, it aggressively moved to global expansion across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia in November 2022.