Ifland: SKT’s metaverse adventure continues with new markets, AI, and K-pop


The South Korean mobile giant says it envisions its ‘Ifland’ platform as the first step in creating a “global AI metaverse”

SK Telecom (SKT) first introduced their metaverse platform Iflad in South Korea back in 2021, saying that it would serve as a new social media platform through which customers to could interact with each other and access unique content.

Since then, the company has struck numerous deals with numerous telcos and other related companies around the world, including the likes of Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, e&, and Singtel, to help introduce Ifland to a more global audience.

By Q3 2022, the company said it had 12.8 million users on the platform, though its continued growth is hard to measure, with specific updates around usership being notably absent.

But while the buzz around the term ‘metaverse’ has died down substantially in the last two years, the South Korean mobile operator’s commitment to Ifland appears to remain resolute, with multiple updates related to the project released last week.

Firstly, the platform’s international reach continues to grow. SKT said last week that it had signed a new deal with Malaysia’s biggest telco, CelcomDigi Berhad, and Cherry, a Philippine IoT platform company, to help expand the platform’s access in both of these Southeast Asian markets.

The move, the company says, will allow Celcom and Cherry to launch locally optimised Ifland platforms, working with SKT to develop and promote specialised, market-specific content.

Initial partnership discussions had been underway with the companies since November last year.

“Malaysia and the Philippines are one of the important markets for Ifland’s global expansion,” said Yang Maeng-seok, head of metaverse operations at SKT, “Through cooperation with local publishers and the introduction of AI, we will be reborn as a ‘global AI metaverse.’”

This new focus on combining Ifland with AI should come as no surprise. SKT has made its intention to transform from a telco to a fully-fledged AI company very clear, tripling its investment in the technology over the next five years in an attempt to generate RW25 trillion ($18.5 billion) in AI revenue by 2028.

As far as Ifland is concerned, the company plans to add AI functions to its ‘E-Friend’ service within the year, including a ‘social AI agent’ that Ifland users can interact with inside the metaverse, and a ‘3D AI studio’ that uses generative AI to generate personalised items and spaces within Ifland.

The platform is also being optimised for new languages, with Malay, Indonesian, Hindi, and Spanish set to be added in the first half of this year.

Finally, in related news, today has seen the launch of a new single ‘Halla’ by multinational girl group “Triple iz”, a K-pop group formed specifically due to their popularity among Ifland users. According to SKT, the ‘fan-made’ group has been specifically influenced by Ifland users, who have had weekly meetings since February to guide the production process, including the selection of fan club names and musical direction.

The exact impact of the song’s launch on Ifland, however, appears somewhat muted by the fact that it is also launching simultaneously on 216 global music channels – it even has a music video, which does not appear to feature Ifland at all.

Ultimately, while the international hype around the metaverse has reduced substantially in recent years – largely subsumed by AI – SKT still has high hopes for Ifland in the global market, albeit the company’s content creation seems to remain largely centred around its home market.

Keep up to date with all of the latest telecoms news from around the world with Total Telecom’s daily newsletter

Also in the news:
Digi Spain sells 6m FTTH accesses to Onivia
Vodafone’s 5G standalone network now connects around half the German population
Broadband poles no problem for Brits says new study

Recent Posts