SK Telecom (SKT) launched its Ifland platform in 49 international markets and outlined an ambition to make its service a leading global social metaverse space, taking the fight to rival players including HTC and Meta Platforms.

In a statement, SKT explained the so-called global launch followed deals with local partners covering distribution and content in several target countries.

The South Korean operator has agreements in place with operator group e&, Singtel and NTT Docomo. It also previously announced a pact with Deutsche Telekom.

SKT noted it was also in discussions with other potential partners, with local tie-ins central to its strategy to expand the service’s global reach.

It plans to develop specific features for different countries and territories, and undertake joint promotion with partners on local content.

Announcing the Ifland expansion today (23 November), SKT noted it will actively use K-pop content and planned to “strengthen communication features to shape Ifland into a global leading social metaverse platform”.

Ifland’s global version will initially cover content in English, Chinese and Japanese, and is being made available for Android and iOS smartphone users. New territories launched include Germany, Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, US, UK, India, Hong Kong and the UAE.

The markets add to its existing Korean language service, which launched in SKT’s home market in 2021 and racked up 8.7 million downloads in its first year of operation.

As of October 2022, Ifland had 12.8 million users.