Indian telcos form new partnerships to focus on the metaverse

metaverse services telcos
Metaverse digital cyber world technology. Image by melis | Bigstockphoto

Vodafone Idea, India’s third-largest telecom operator, has joined hands with the United Kingdom-based technology company, Mobile Streams Plc, to launch gaming, e-sports, and metaverse services in the first quarter of 2022.

“Mobile Streams Plc is delighted to announce it will be launching new services in India in partnership with Vodafone India (Vi) during the first quarter of 2022,” the company said in an official statement.

The UK-based company will launch gaming, e-sports and metaverse services to over 273 million Vodafone Idea customers. The service will be delivered via an app on the Google App Store in India and will enable customers to pay directly from their Vodafone bill via their Google wallet.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE)-listed company, in a statement, said that it was also in talks with Reliance Jio for launching new services.

“The company is also in advanced discussions with the Jio mobile network in India regarding new service launches and will update the market on those in due course. This announcement means the company has now reinvigorated and relaunched in all the main territories of the legacy business inherited from previous management, and we look forward to announcing further continued expansion in due course,” Mobile Streams said in the statement.

Notably, the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator’s parent, Jio Platforms (JPL), is separately preparing for its own metaverse and Web 3.0 play. This comes at a time when Jio is focusing on technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning to develop new use cases for its 5G services.

Jio has invested $15 million in Silicon Valley based deep tech startup Two Platforms Inc. for a 25% equity stake. Two Platforms is led by Pranav Mistry, who previously served Samsung Electronics in senior roles.

Notably, Bharti Airtel is also betting big on cloud gaming along with AI/ML and considers them as future growth areas in the 5G era. It recently conducted cloud gaming using the 5G trial spectrum allotted by the government.

The metaverse is a concept of a network of 3D virtual universe that combines multiple virtual spaces. This is being considered as a future iteration of the internet. In a metaverse, users will be able to work, meet, game, and socialise together in these 3D spaces with the help of augmented reality (AR) headsets.

Facebook recently rebranded into Meta to focus on the metaverse. Other tech giants like Google and Microsoft are also focusing on metaverse.

India’s top IT services firms are also working on embedding various technologies to tap the metaverse market, which is estimated to provide an $8 trillion opportunity, as per Goldman Sachs.

Indian IT services firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is already piloting and investing in this emerging area. It claimed to have executed several proof of concepts (POCs) and use cases for businesses.

“Metaverse coupled with 5G and 6G technologies is going to revolutionise the way we do business,” N Ganapathy Subramaniam, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of TCS was quoted as saying by India’s BusinessToday. Infosys and HCL Technologies have also started work in the area.

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