Bharti Airtel, India’s second largest telecom operator, is preparing to tap the metaverse opportunity with its upcoming 5G network and will get into “deeper” partnerships with content providers and over-the-top players to enable several use cases, a top official said.

“5G will be enabling the metaverse, which requires a lot of data. Metaverse will need much higher speeds and needs to be closer to the edge content. Telcos will play a major role. It could be used for sports events, gaming or even business meetings,” Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer at Bharti Airtel, told ET.

He said metaverse as a concept won’t succeed without “deeper” partnerships with telecom operators. “In some areas, content needs to be hosted on our data centres beyond the high-speed connectivity that our 5G will bring. So, it won’t be successful without partnerships.”

Metaverse is a new-age business in a virtual world, powered by virtual reality, augmented reality and blockchain technologies where people can play, work and shop across different platforms using digital tools and augmented reality (AR) headsets. The gaming ecosystem, in particular, is set to gain from metaverse push.

The metaverse is being considered in future iterations of the internet.

The initial phase of 5G services will see some “metaverse” use cases, especially in the B2C or consumer space, Sekhon said, adding that there will be strong use cases in the enterprise space as well, going forward.

“Everybody is building it, be it Facebook or Microsoft. What we are demonstrating today is probably an early version and it will get better. The ecosystem is still building,” Sekhon said.


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