This article was first published in The Fast Mode.
CSPs can go beyond providing the high-speed networks on which the metaverse runs. Many are developing new 5G led business processes today that can be further developed and fine-tuned to support the business opportunities that the metaverse will open up to CSPs. Key to this will be partners. One CSP that has an active and successful metaverse platform, called Ifland, is SK Telecom. They have received more than 1,500 requests for partnerships related to Ifland and they’re also going to open their platform to partners. This sounds similar to B2B2X business models and opening up networks and systems to partners to enable them to sell their services over 5G networks.
Like the internet, the metaverse will have many, many companies delivering services on it. With 5G, network slicing offers CPSs the ability to control the quality of service, speed and latency of particular network slices. With 5G you could have a specific high-speed slice for a 5G gaming offer delivered by a CSP in partnership with, say, Nintendo. Fast forward and think how network slicing and partnership models could work for CSPs in the metaverse. Some services may need higher speeds and lower latency than others and partnering with a CSP to guarantee speed and latency could provide the best delivery model for companies looking to sell their services on the metaverse.
Metaverse-Based Commerce - B2B2X on Steroids
There could be an opportunity for CSPs to supply the ‘business platforms’ that power metaverse-based commerce. These ‘business platforms’ could use a combination of offer catalogues, billing, charging, policy management, partner management, analytics, care, sales and marketing. Think of it like an AI-driven B2B2X marketplace on steroids, with CSPs taking a % of the financial transactions from their partners. This could be for people making purchases in the metaverse and from new business models, such as personalised advertising or commerce enabled by digital currencies and NFTs (nonfungible tokens) for selling digital products like outfits and accessories for avatars, or digital art or decorations for virtual homes.
Like 5G, the metaverse opens new avenues for business innovation, which underlines the need for CSP business platforms to have a high degree of openness, adaptability, and agility to support and monetise use cases and ideas. In addition, like 5G, CSPs need systems that will enable them to experiment with new offers, new partnership models and new business models.
The metaverse and 5G need partnerships between CSPs and companies wanting to sell their services over 5G and/or on the metaverse. The potential is for thousands of partnerships with many being ‘on-demand’ time-limited partnerships such as a concert promotor buying a specific 5G network slice on demand to live broadcast a concert in 8K to a customer with an AR / VR headset.
The opportunity for CSPs isn’t limited to providing the high-speed connectivity that will enable the metaverse to exist. They have an opportunity to play a more substantive role. They can expand business models and processes that are already being discussed in relation to 5G SA and apply them to the emerging metaverse opportunities that exist today. These include using new 5G SA B2B2X models, and opening their systems to partners in order to generate new revenues. These can then enable CSPs to stake their claim in the metaverse and generate more than connectivity-based revenues.
Martin Morgan, Qvantel