SK Telecom and NTT DOCOMO establish metaverse, 6G partnership

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SK Telecom (SKT) and NTT DOCOMO have established a partnership to improve their metaverse offerings and advance 6G research.

“The MOU has a significant meaning as it is a cooperation between the representative mobile operators of Korea and Japan,” said Ryu Young-sang, President & CEO of SKT.

“By working together with NTT DOCOMO in the area of future ICT, we will generate tangible results that drive global ICT innovation.”

Both telcos already operate metaverse services. SKT has its ‘ifland’ service, with around 1.5 million monthly active users, while NTT DOCOMO announced its ‘XR World’ earlier this year which can be accessed from a web browser.

In October, NTT DOCOMO formed a $412 million unit called Qonoq that’s focused on developing XR hardware and software. The operator’s photonic-based IOWN (Innovative optical and wireless network) is currently in development and aims to improve bandwidth by 125 times and deliver latency of 1/200 of a second, which will greatly enhance metaverse services.

SKT and NTT DOCOMO say they’re creating a consultative body where they’ll regularly share metaverse technology and know-how and work on long-term connections of their services and conduct joint marketing.

Among the first tangible results of the partnership will include users of NTT DOCOMO’s metaverse service being able to enjoy concerts by K-pop artists provided by ifland. Meanwhile, ifland users can take a virtual tour of major Japanese cities via NTT DOCOMO’s service.

“By combining our technological capabilities and the know-how we have cultivated across years of experience, we hope to create new services that will allow customers around the world to experience new forms of excitement,” said Motoyuki Li, President & CEO of NTT DOCOMO.

Elsewhere, the operators will cooperate on 6G research and work together to shape international standards.

One of the first efforts will be to secure Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) and Virtualised RAN technologies that will be used for 6G, while another will see the companies work on “innovating the mobile network structure into a cloud environment” and co-develop transport network technologies.

“We look forward to working with SK Telecom to develop the businesses of both companies,” said Li.

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