The Metaverse: The age of (r)evolution for Telcos

December 13th, 2022 by · Leave a Comment

This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Jeff Wang, Senior Managing Director at Accenture

The internet is being reshaped and evolving into a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models. This is a game changer for communications service providers (CSPs) who will serve as an endpoint for consumers and businesses to the metaverse, a market that is expected to be worth an estimated $13 trillion in global revenue by 2030 according to a recent Citi report. While any generational shift in the internet presents threats to incumbents, CSPs are strongly positioned to capitalize on this opportunity given their proximity to customers and high levels of trust that they enjoy.

According to a recent Accenture report, many CSPs recognize the opportunity, but few have turned their attention to position themselves as leading players. In fact, 67% of CSPs believe there is metaverse potential for products and services, while 76% said they see significant opportunities for customer experience in the metaverse. To seize this opportunity, they need a strategy that looks beyond the existing infrastructure space (devices, network and compute) and expands across metaverse growth areas such as identity, economy and experience to create new opportunities before others beat them to it.

Leveraging Strengths

CSPs should leverage their foundational strengths of network infrastructure, identity, data, partnerships, and trusted customer relationships. Using these strengths for expansion into the metaverse will help CSPs shape metaverse standards and customer experiences, while giving them a new way to monetize products and services. 

There are three key roles that CSPs can play across the B2B and B2C landscape—the Disruptor, the Orchestrator and the Performance Player. These roles define paths to purpose-driven growth and the opportunity to fully embrace a telco to techco metamorphosis.  

The Disruptor

Disruptors will create a new set of metaverse experiences and platforms while fostering an innovation-driven culture with partnerships that transform the business model from value to growth. They will develop and operate platforms to provide social and virtual entertainment experiences that can include film and TV, parks, sports, content, live events, gaming and more. They will leverage platform strengths to become the metaverse builder for B2B and government customers, offering Metaverse-as-a-Service to transform industries such as manufacturing, tourism and education with intelligent digital twins and immersive experiences.  

Disruptors’ platforms will allow third parties to build their own spaces and have them offer additional experiences and products to increase brand reach. They will offer to sell and operate their virtual world’s building blocks to other brands to facilitate their metaverse journey. They will set up a virtual world where consumers can access products, services, community and events, and will encourage them to interact with and test products and services.

The Orchestrator

The Orchestrator role will represent a balance between evolution and revolution, where CSPs can invest in developing new network products and services that enhance B2B and B2C value. They can grow revenue opportunities and establish new industry standards while exploring adjacent domains and connecting products and services across industry partners to offer the best possible metaverse experience. 

The Orchestrator will enable safety, privacy and economy in the metaverse. They will power consistent, relevant and seamless experiences by building core systems for identity and persona management. As a trusted third party, already a position of authority that CSPs claim, Orchestrators go everywhere with consumers in the metaverse and beyond to provide these services around identity, payments, location-based experiences, and security.

Orchestrator systems will provide the frameworks to drive the metaverse economy, enabling users to utilize CSP billing and payment services to participate in the digital wallet ecosystem of tomorrow. These systems will also provide the interoperability to transfer digital assets across different metaverse experiences, automatically applying the right profile for the context and enabling location-based experiences by leveraging device and geo-location capabilities.

With user permission, the combination of identity, authentication, payment, interoperability, and location solutions serves as the thread for both connecting and personalizing experiences, content and targeted advertising. Orchestrators will build a world where CSPs are the central brokers of consistent and authenticated experiences.

The Performance Player

The Performance Player role will be an evolutionary move with use case opportunities in both B2B and B2C. Performance Players will compress their network transformation with a focus on core competencies to relentlessly deploy, re-architect and optimize networks for high-bandwidth and low-latency performance, ceding non-core capabilities to other metaverse players.

CSPs can leverage their core strengths to build out and monetize specialized network services that meet performance requirements. They will provide premium metaverse service tiers, create metaverse connectivity “zones,” offer dedicated network slices or private networks to enterprises, enable network sharing, expand edge services and offer value-add services, all in pursuit of high-performance connectivity.

In the future, Performance Players will create decentralized networks that enable connectivity agnostic of physical infrastructure and allow consumers or enterprises to set up tokenized peer-to-peer networks for greater coverage and speed.

The 4 Ps of Metaverse Ready Networks

CSPs need to prepare themselves to be metaverse-ready networks by focusing on four areas: performance, platform, partnerships, and products.

  • E2E Connectivity Performance: Every experience in the future will require high quality connectivity as a fundamental feature. Today’s network standards will not be enough to support the predicted global demand. CSPs will need enhanced capabilities and coordination to have exceptional technical capability in bandwidth, low latency, symmetry, and stability.
  • Network as a Platform: Creating a strong connectivity foundation for the metaverse will require CSPs to expand and enhance their network platforms, including core operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS), orchestration, security, marketplaces, edge, and intelligence. Along with increased speed and simplicity of operations, these modern platforms will improve experiences, control costs, and drive new revenue for CSPs. The platforms will also create the basis for companies to create, collaborate, and empower economic and societal change. 
  • Partnerships: Connectivity for the metaverse cannot be delivered independently; it will take collaboration across multiple industries to realize its full potential. Only by envisioning and launching new types of partnerships, including network co-investment with fast-moving platform companies, across a collection of companies, platforms and experiences can CSPs unlock the value of globally scalable, flexible metaverse networks.
  • Network Products: A CSP can create value with a new generation of network products for customers and businesses connecting to the metaverse. CSPs can start exploring future network products including quality of service (QoS), enhanced service tiers or bundles, usage-based pricing, network slicing and edge services. This foundation and Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain will position CSPs to build new use cases, solutions and products that allow anyone to access the metaverse and get the most out of their experience while opening the door to new revenue streams.

The Time is now

Future success in the metaverse will be determined today by the CSPs willing to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented by this emerging technology. CSPs have a critical role in the metaverse with foundational connectivity, and they have the power to define a unique role beyond network with purposeful moves into new areas. Choices to evolve or revolutionize are required today to capture value and ensure CSPs are positioned as leaders in the next internet. In the age of (r)evolution, it’s time to start shaping the metaverse.


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