SKT joins hands with NTT DOCOMO for metaverse, mobile network infrastructure and media business

Ryu Young-sang, President & CEO of SKT (left) and Motoyuki Ii, President & CEO of NTT DOCOMO pose for a photo after signing an MOU to cooperate in the information and communication technology (ICT) business. / Courtesy of SKT

SK Telecom (SKT) today announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NTT DOCOMO, the largest mobile operator in Japan, to cooperate in the information and communication technology (ICT) business.

Through the MOU, the two companies will forge strategic partnership in three key areas – metaverse, mobile network infrastructure and media business. They will also create greater synergies by cooperating with other SK ICT affiliates like SK hynix and Contents Wavve.

First, SKT and NTT DOCOMO will work together in the areas of content, technology and service to further advance their metaverse services. SKT has been operating its metaverse service ‘ifland’ since July 2021, while NTT DOCOMO launched its metaverse service in March 2022.

The two companies are discussing joint production of metaverse content. This includes co-creation of K-pop and J-pop content and applying them to both of their services. In particular, they will consider the idea of ​​jointly securing intellectual properties (IPs) of popular games and animations in Korea and Japan, and jointly investing in metaverse-related content providers or mixed reality-related device makers.

Moreover, SKT and NTT DOCOMO will operate a regular consultative body for cooperation in the metaverse business to share service and technology knowhow in the short term, and discuss connecting their services and implementing joint marketing in the longer term.

By linking the metaverse services of the two companies, users of NTT DOCOMO’s metaverse service in Japan will be able to enjoy volumetric concerts of K-pop artists being provided by ifland. Also, ifland users will be able to take a virtual tour of major cities of Japan via NTT DOCOMO’s metaverse service.

SKT and NTT DOCOMO also agreed to cooperate in next-generation mobile network technologies including 6G. They will carry out joint studies on not only 5G, but also on 5G evolution and key 6G technologies, and work together to set international technology standards.

By cooperating to have their 6G use cases and key requirements – from the perspective of customers and operators – reflected by global standardization organizations and the industry, the two companies will be prepared to achieve success in the 6G era.

Together, they will secure Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) and Virtualized RAN technologies that will be widely used in 6G communications. In addition, the two companies will focus on R&D in next-generation mobile networks, which includes innovating the mobile network structure into cloud environment and co-developing transport network technologies.

SKT and NTT DOCOMO will also cooperate in the area of ​​Green ICT. Since electricity consumption will constantly increase with the evolution of networks from 5G to 6G, they will jointly promote the development of energy-saving solutions and high-efficiency network equipment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, SKT and SK hynix will serve as members of ‘Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Global Forum,’ a consultative body for R&D and standardization of next-generation communication technologies. At present, around 100 big tech companies – including Intel and Sony, academic institutions and research institutes are participating in the forum.

Through the IOWN Global Forum, SKT and NTT DOCOMO plan to secure next-generation transport technology, and SK hynix will cooperate in studies of next-generation semiconductor technologies.

Furthermore, based on the cooperation with NTT DOCOMO, ‘Wavve,’ a video streaming service provided by Contents Wavve, will make its way into Japan’s media market.

Contents Wavve and NTT DOCOMO will also cooperate in content production/distribution and make strategic investments to increase their global presence. To this end, the two companies will promote joint production of diverse original content such as dramas and entertainment shows and supply them exclusively to the Korean and Japanese market.

The partnership between Contents Wavve and NTT DOCOMO is expected to be mutually beneficial: By providing globally popular Korean content to the Japanese market, Wavve expects to secure an overseas sales channel, while NTT DOCOMO attracts more subscribers.

“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.”

“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. We look forward to working with SK Telecom to develop the businesses of both companies,” said Motoyuki Ii, President & CEO of NTT DOCOMO.

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