Network Slicing Trials Chart Vertical Future of 5G


Have a vertical wireless need? 5G has a slice for that. Network slicing, which gives an enterprise its own private end-to-end network within an MNO’s public wireless network, is one of 5G’s cornerstone services. Several trials and a recent whitepaper show how network slicing may allow MNOs to serve vertical markets.

Nokia has completed two network slicing trials: one for Africa’s first Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network slicing deployment on a live 4G and 5G commercial network and the other a slicing trial for Android devices with Google. Ericsson has also demonstrated network infrastructure for multiple slices on a single device running Android 13, supporting both enterprise and consumer applications.

Along with showing the technical chops to provide network slicing, Ericsson released a white paper showing the business case for providing gamers with their own high-performance slice of the network. According to inCode, the strategy consulting arm of Ericsson North America, gamers would pay $10.99 more for an advanced performance slice each month, a nice bump to the ARPU. 

The 5G network slicing market is projected to reach $4.9 billion globally by 2027, according to a report entitled 5G Network Slicing Market by Infrastructure, Spectrum Band, Segment, Industry Vertical, Application and Services 2022 – 2027, and the United States is expected to lead the market followed by the Asia Pacific and Europe. To reach those numbers, collaboration will be necessary among system integrators, vendors, and carriers, according to the report by Research and Markets.

Network Slicing Will Help MNOs to Tap Enterprise Market

Enterprises will lead the slicing market, according to Research and Markets, led by smaller organizations, which will grow 50 percent faster than corporations. But private wireless networks will require more engagement with vertical markets if 5G slicing is to meet their needs. “There is a keen need for service providers of all types (carrier, managed service, business user) to coordinate with application providers,” the firm wrote.

Safaricom’s network slicing trial in Nairobi, Kenya, demonstrates that the MNO can support new types of enterprise network services, including fast lane internet access and application slicing, according to Nokia. Secure FWA slice connectivity was provided to the enterprise locations, as well as to the private and public application clouds.

Nokia’s trial with Google, which took place in Tampere, Finland, included LTE-5G NR slice functionality, which will enable operators to use existing network assets, as well as with newly deployed 5G equipment.

A little less than two years ago, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and KDDI completed the first 5G end-to-end network slicing demonstration with a RAN Intelligent Controller in Tokyo, Japan.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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