Meta Says Its Metaverse Ambition Relies on the Successful Deployment of 5G Networks

Although the metaverse buzz continues to dominate headlines in the internet, Meta says it will need significant advances in connectivity to make its ambition a reality.
Image source: Meta AI

Quick take:

  • Meta says it will need advanced connectivity services to achieve its metaverse ambitions.
  • Meta turned the metaverse tide to a trendy internet buzzword last year when it rebranded from Facebook.
  • Zuckerberg thinks there is still a lot to be done technologically in order to deliver virtual worlds through smart glasses and VR headsets.

Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition to build the ultimate metaverse goes back to when Facebook bought virtual reality headset maker Oculus in 2014. Although it reached a point when it seemed like Zuckerberg’s company had put the idea on the backburner, his ambition rekindled again last year, culminating in the rebranding to Meta.

However, every great idea is bound to face significant challenges in a bid to find the right path. Meta has settled on an independent metaverse, dubbed horizon worlds, rather than converting Facebook or Instagram into an immersive virtual world.

But now, the company thinks that despite the progress made in the last 12 months, there is still a long way left before achieving its grand ambition of creating the ultimate metaverse.

Zuckerberg said in a statement on Sunday that “creating a true sense of presence in virtual worlds delivered to smart glasses and VR headsets will require massive advances in connectivity.”

Dan Rabinovitsj, VP of connectivity at Meta, told CNBC at the Mobile World Congress technology event Monday that current home and mobile networks are not ready for the metaverse.

Rabinovitsj said the company is working with colleagues to determine the next steps in innovation adding that they are also in collaboration with cellular partners.

“If you really look at the pace of innovation in the telecom world, compared to other markets, it’s been harder to go faster in this space,” Rabinovitsj said. “One of the things that we’ve tried to change is that trajectory of innovation.”

However, with 5G connectivity being deployed in several regions across the globe, the wait may not be as long as it sounds. Asia, Europe and North America are at advanced stages of rolling out 5G networks with leading telecommunications companies investing billions of dollars towards wireless connectivity.

AT&T Executive Vice President David Christopher told CNBC that 5G is being deployed at a faster rate than 4G was, as cellular networks continue to invest heavily in the transition phase.

“This will only improve over this next decade to support many use cases across many industries, including immersive and metaverse-like experiences,” Christopher said, adding that networks already offer low latency, consistent speeds and high capacity.

However, Christopher also stressed that interoperability and innovation across several sectors will be important in scaling adoption as the metaverse grows.

Meta recently revealed its grand plan for AI in the metaverse as it continues to build its AI supercomputer scheduled for full launch this summer.

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