SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, said Thursday it will launch its virtual meeting platform ifland in around 80 overseas markets by the end of this year in a move to join the global metaverse rush.
The carrier launched the platform last month that allows users to interact with others using personalized avatars in a range of online settings from stadiums to cafes.
The metaverse platforms have grown in popularity over the past year, especially from tech-savvy teenagers, as people shift their activities online amid the pandemic.
U.S.-based Roblox, a platform of user-created games and a metaverse leader, ranked as the top game app by monthly active users among 16- to 24-year-old South Koreans, according to a recent report from industry tracker App Annie.
South Korean tech giant Naver Corp. operates the hugely popular Zepeto, which had 200 million global users as of February.
SK Telecom said it is planning to develop ifland into a global platform, with launches in around 80 countries by the end of this year, although it did not elaborate where.
The company plans to draw users on the back of K-pop content, such as holding regular fan meetings, and it will also develop the service into an open platform so that users can create their own digital environments.
Ifland will also be equipped with a market system within this year to allow users to buy and sell digital items.
SK Telecom’s push for the metaverse platform comes as it seeks to find a killer app to boost the adoption of its 5G network service.
Although local carriers launched the high-speed networks in 2019, mobile users have yet to migrate en masse as existing services work just fine on previous 4G LTE networks.
The company currently offers ifland on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile platforms, with plans to launch the service on Oculus Quest virtual reality devices within this year.