Can Indian Telcos Make Most of Growing Metaverse Theme?

metaverseThe crypto world has turned gung ho on the metaverse theme, with investors taking up huge bets in this space.

According to a report by Credit Suisse, the transition of the digital ecosystem to metaverse will push data usage by 20 times across the globe by 2032 and telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Jio are suitably placed to benefit from the surge.

It added that metaverse has enormous potential to further expand screen time and drive more bandwidth consumption. Both the telecom players Jio and Airtel are extensively engaged in 5G trials, with the technology expected to be rolled out in the next fiscal.

Telecommunication companies will provide the infrastructure in terms of high-speed low latency 5G networks and act as gateways to the metaverse, said Sharat Chandra, VP- Research & Strategy, EarthID.

Recently, Jio made two big investments in deep tech startups and is betting big on Web3.0 and metaverse, he said, adding that Airtel cannot afford to sit on the fence and lose out on a trillion-dollar metaverse opportunity. It will join the metaverse bandwagon soon, Chandra said.

Mark Zuckerberg-backed Facebook, renamed and rebranded itself as ‘Meta’, which became the tectonic shift towards the theme. Following that, a number of institutions have joined the queue, with JP Morgan being the latest entrant.

Pratik Gauri, CEO & Founder 5ire said, “The Metaverse should bring profound changes to the entire technology, media and telecom industry and we are totally focused on both the Metaverse and the Web3.0 technologies.”

“We think that the immersive and near-actual experience of the Metaverse will allow us to lower our cost both in the consumption of fossil fuels and global warming, leading to greater sustainability,” he added.

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are expected to see a boom as these are the technologies that are required for accessing the metaverse, said the Swiss investment banker in its report.

The Credit Suisse report said the gaming segment is one of the segments where early use cases of metaverse are expected. According to the report, 5G will support the metaverse ecosystem, the emergence of 6G will enhance metaverse use cases.

“This will definitely empower Indian startups to build the Web3.0 and metaverse infrastructure for the world,” said Chandra.

Metaverse will substantially expedite innovation and collaboration, said Gauri. “It will allow us to prosper as a virtual enterprise, lowering carbon footprint and providing utility for existing infrastructure.”

The report projects fixed broadband penetration in India to increase to nine per cent in the current fiscal 22E from 6.8 per cent in FY20. The penetration is expected to increase further to 12.6 per cent by FY25E the report said.

That said, experts believe is likely that homegrown players would play the plain vanilla metaverse theme and skip the use of cryptos until there is a clear guideline from the government.

It’s technically feasible to create a metaverse without involving crypto but it will be a closed ecosystem devoid of decentralization and broad participation from Web3.0 players, suggest experts.

Gauri believes that the decentralized model is much more suitable for providing quick access to users across the world when it comes to the integration of metaverse cryptos.

“We can not envision a truly decentralized, open and interoperable metaverse without leveraging the decentralizing nature of tokenization and crypto technologies,” Chandra said.

Incumbent big tech gatekeepers of the Web2.0 era can monopolize the metaverse, he added.

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