The most popular metaverse stories of 2022

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Dec 20, 2022

  • The world is becoming less sceptical of the metaverse
  • Metaverse polled second in the Oxford Word of the Year and has been popular in 2022 with the TelecomTV readership 
  • Telcos around the world are increasingly open to exploring futuristic use cases

One word often dominated the discourse in the telco and the broader tech industry this year – and that word was metaverse. Albeit still vague to some, the concept depicting an immersive and highly interactive virtual, futuristic world felt much closer to the present day throughout 2022 as a result of multiple investments, partnerships and collaborations, service launches and bullish predictions for the uptake of metaverse applications.

Its impact has been felt far and wide – the word ranked second in the Oxford University Press Word of the Year: By October 2022, its usage had grown nearly fourfold from the same period in 2021.

TelecomTV’s coverage of the topic has also been popular (measured by page views). It has helped, of course, that some of the biggest names in telecom, let alone tech, have embraced the metaverse as having real business and user-experience value, but the topic is also a magnet for those that are sceptical about the possibilities, features and/or need of the metaverse.

So, without further ado, here are the most popular metaverse articles published by TelecomTV in 2022…

1. SK Telecom boasts early metaverse success as it targets major sales growth

9 February 2022: The South Korean operator began the year by hailing the progress of its metaverse platform, called Ifland (which we experienced on the Mobile World Congress show floor in Barcelona). Ifland attracted more than 1.1 million monthly active users (MAUs) only six months after launching. In its earnings announcement for 2021, SK Telecom (SKT) also claimed there was “great attention” towards its metaverse service from businesses and organisations, with more than 1,500 requests for partnerships. SKT announced at the time that it planned to expand Ifland through various endeavours, including M&A moves in the artificial intelligence (AI) and metaverse sectors, as well as opening the platform to partners. Read the full story.

2. Will mobile operators jump on the metaverse bandwagon?

17 February 2022: Naturally, we were curious to see whether SKT’s initial success could be duplicated by mobile network operators elsewhere and, more importantly, whether it makes sense for them to do so, given the vast workforce, R&D and other resources it would take… While some telcos, especially in the Asia Pacific region, seem to be increasingly open to exploring such opportunities as they seek ways to bring in new revenue streams, industry analysts (at least at the start of 2022) didn’t believe there would be a global rush by operators to develop their own metaverse-based services. But why? Read the full story.

3. Deutsche Telekom to bring SK Telecom’s metaverse to Europe

9 May 2022: Not long after SKT unveiled its intentions to explore Ifland  collaborations, the operator joined forces with German telco Deutsche Telekom (DT) in an effort to place the platform on the European map. The telcos agreed to develop a version of Ifland for the German market (which happened in November as part of a broader launch in 49 countries and territories across six regions globally), alongside discussions for joint work on digital infrastructure security, improving cybersecurity for customers and the possibility for DT to use the ‘Vision AI’ video security solution jointly developed by SK Telecom and SK Shielders. Read the full story.

4. Orange is ready for the metaverse but needs ROI assurance

21 October 2022: Orange, the telco group operating in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, also feels ready for a journey in the metaverse. A few months after its Luxembourg subsidiary launched an Orange Digital Centre (ODC) in cyberspace, Orange’s chief technology and innovation officer, Michaël Trabbia, told TelecomTV that when it comes to the technical requirements, Orange Group’s mobile and fixed networks are almost ready to support various metaverse-related services, including extended reality (XR) use cases. According to Trabbia, Orange is “quite advanced” with its “high-quality” 5G and fibre access networks, which are needed for metaverse experiences to go smoothly. However, he admitted the group is yet to examine ways to monetise such services and figure out how to make a return on investment (ROI). Read the full story.

5. NTT Docomo commits to a metaverse future

10 October 2022: The Japanese telco is another example of an operator looking to explore possibilities that could be unlocked by the metaverse. NTT Docomo unveiled a new unit called NTT Qonoq, which will focus on developing hardware and software products for the XR sector. Its reported budget of 60 billion yen (US$412m) will help it to develop promising enterprise and consumer use cases. The new unit began work on 1 October, when it had around 200 staff focused on creating new services and solutions tailored for the metaverse, as well as the field of digital twins. Read the full story.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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