SKT forges new metaverse partnerships

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Nov 27, 2023

  • SK Telecom has been striving to lead the metaverse platform sector with its self-developed ifland platform
  • The South Korean operator is adding to its existing international metaverse partnerships with new collaborations across Asia
  • It is also targeting tie-ups in the US, India and Europe to expand the global reach of its metaverse platform

SK Telecom (SKT) has turned to Malaysian telco CelcomDigi, as well as two other Asian companies, to further expand the reach of ifland, its in-house developed metaverse platform.

The South Korean operator announced that it has struck new metaverse partnerships with CelcomDigi, Indonesia-based game developer Agate, and Philippine internet of things (IoT) platform provider Cosmic Technologies.

With these collaborative partnerships, SKT will focus its efforts on the areas that apply to all global versions of ifland, such as planning, operation and content creation. Its partners, meanwhile, will focus on boosting the metaverse platform in their local markets through activities such as providing localised content, marketing and primary customer support.

The move builds upon a collaboration with CelcomDigi, announced by SKT in March, which aims to increase ifland users in Malaysia, and come up with new business ideas – see News brief: SKT further expands its metaverse reach.

According to SKT, the new partnerships promise mutual benefits for anyone involved: “The partners will be able to gain experience in the metaverse service/business without making initial investments for service development, and SKT will be able to offer content tailored to each country or region in a timely manner and conduct effective localised marketing via its partners.”

SKT initiated cooperation talks with the companies at the start of 2023, which were followed by tests for service localisation in July, including joint marketing activities and local events.

“By signing agreements with three leading IT companies in South-east Asia, we will be able to carry out customised marketing in these countries,” said Yang Maeng-seog, VP and head of metaverse CO at SKT.

Global goals

Alongside the partnerships announcement, the operator unveiled plans to add Indonesian, Malay, Hindi and Spanish to the list of languages supported by the metaverse platform, to enable it to expand further into the global market. The company is also working on a curation feature that will recommend content based on individual customer characteristics and the region of access, and it is focused on enhancing “the overall global service quality”.

Its long-term vision also involves seeking additional partners in the US, India and Europe to speed up the global presence of ifland. “We will continue to do our best to provide ifland users with content and services that understand their culture and society by partnering with more local companies,” stated Maeng-seog.

SKT’s journey in the metaverse sector started with the launch of ifland in June 2021 and the company wasted no time in finding major partners to boost the service’s presence. Shortly after sealing a strategic partnership with German telco giant Deutsche Telekom to bring the platform to Europe, SKT made it available to 49 countries in November 2022 – see What’s up with… SK Telecom, Openreach, CityFibre, Analysys Mason.

Its efforts appear to be bearing fruit: In its financial results for the third quarter of 2023, the South Korean telco noted that almost 50% of the monthly active users (MAUs) connected to ifland are from overseas. At the time, it highlighted its collaboration with global partners, including Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile US, as well as efforts to create “a virtuous cycle of the ecosystem” and to boost monetisation for content creators on the platform.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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