SK Telecom Releases New VR Service Powered by 5G

User wearing Oculus' standalone VR headset, Oculus Go, to try SK Telecom's Virtual Social World service. / Photo Courtesy of SK Telecom

SK Telecom announced on Tuesday that the company released a new fifth-generation (5G) network-powered virtual reality (VR) service. The VR service allows users from across the world to communicate and meet in the virtual reality space and participate in different activities together.

The country’s leading mobile carrier announced during a media conference in Seoul the launch of the Virtual Social World service. The company said it partnered with content companies and global ICT, such as Facebook, Kakao, and Nexon, to broaden the VR ecosystem.

SK Telecom also launched Oculus’ standalone VR headset, Oculus Go, in partnership with Facebook. Oculus is Facebook’s VR technology subsidiary. The joint venture will enable Korean users, who previously relied on overseas delivery for purchase, to easily buy the item at the online and offline stores of SK Telecom.

IDC, a market researcher, said that the VR market is expected to rapidly increase following the growth of supply from 8 million this year to 100 million devices in 2023.

SK Telecom started developing the Virtual Social World service five years ago. Aware of the enormous potential of the service, the mobile carrier secured 92 patents, including those technologies such as telepresence that allows multiple users into a single virtual space.

The telecom company aims to increase the quantity of its VR service subscribers from 100,000 to 1 million a month by the end of 2020.

In the first half of next year, the company will add various languages to the VR service so that both foreign and domestic users can interact in a single virtual space.

Also, in the first half of 2020, users that do not have access to VR devices can access the service through their smartphones.
Jeon Jin-soo said, “We have partnered with the domestic and foreign platform and content companies to enter the VR market.” He added, “We will offer super immersive experiences to users by expanding the virtual space quickly.” Jeon Jin-soo heads the 5GX service business unit at SK Telecom.

The company’s ultimate goal for the Virtual Social World service is to enable any user to do anything in the VR space.

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