MTS in a different reality – Newspaper Kommersant No. 16 (7461) of 01/28/2023

Telecom operator MTS is investing $100 million in creating its own metaverse — a virtual environment where the company intends to promote its own and partner digital products, including tariffs, subscriptions to a book service and an online cinema. Abroad, metaverses are considered a promising technology, but investments in projects have not yet paid off, and in Russia their full-fledged launch is hindered by technical restrictions, experts say.

MTS wants to launch its own metaverse for the operator’s clients, as well as for interested companies that can sell their services in virtual reality, told Kommersant in the operator: “The client will be able to receive any services in the metaverse – from changing the tariff plan to subscribing to a book service” Lines” or Kion online cinema”.

The Metaverse is a virtual space that creates a simulation of reality and combines existing services, content, brand products in a single environment. Users can interact with each other and with digital objects in the metaverse through their avatars, using personal computers, as well as using special headsets and glasses.

The development of the MTS metaverse will be carried out by startups that were involved in the 5G incubation program introduced in February 2022, as well as new developers. The total investment of MTS in the MTS AI accelerator, which will select startups, including international ones, will amount to $100 million, a pilot launch is planned as early as 2023.

The Metaverse, MTS promises, will support all virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality devices.

In the world, the technology of the metaverse begins to develop actively. The first major company to announce plans to create a metaverse in October 2021 was Facebook (Meta’s activities related to the work of Instagram and Facebook were declared extremist and banned in Russia), later renamed Meta. The founder of the company, Mark Zuckerberg, at that time predicted that in five to ten years, almost all communication would take place using virtual reality. Mark Zuckerberg has already invested more than $15 billion in the creation of the metaverse. The ambitious project so far is more likely to lead to an increase in costs: in the third quarter of 2022, they increased by 19%, to $22.1 billion. in the Arabic Etisalat. According to McKinsie’s forecast, by 2030 the total capitalization of the metaverse will be $ 5 trillion, and 80% of income will come from online sales.

A number of large Russian companies are also studying metaverse technologies and creating separate elements for them. Thus, the VKontakte social network is developing the direction of digital assets and has announced a marketplace for NFT tokens. Yandex has its own space in the popular Roblox game. It also develops the M.Video virtual store. “Virtual space allows you to open up new opportunities for getting to know the brand through interactive formats and gamification,” the network explained. VK and Yandex declined to comment.

However, in Russia there are technological difficulties with the creation of metauniverses.

“The metaverse is content for 5G, and the development of this technology in Russia is now difficult, this makes the metaverse not very attractive for investors and makes it difficult to create it,” Tele2 says, noting that at the moment the development of metaverses is unprofitable.

Kommersant’s interlocutor in the IT market doubts the prospects of the new MTS project also due to the lack of 5G networks in Russia. In addition, he believes that the declared investments are not enough: “Even Facebook’s multibillion-dollar investments in the metaverse cannot attract a mass audience.” Leonid Novozhilov, director of digital technology development at Rostelecom, believes that significant progress in metaverse technology will be achieved only in three to five years. The founder of the portal, Gadzhi Makhtiev, believes: “The main problem is the lack of the necessary software and gadgets that can support the program.”

Timofey Kornev

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