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Network slicing trials shed light on vertical future of 5G

Recent trials and a report have shown that network slicing can help mobile network operators (MNOs) serve vertical markets, Inside Towers reports. Network slicing allows enterprises to have their own private end-to-end network within an MNO’s public wireless network. It’s also one of 5G’s key services.

Nokia finished a pair of network slicing trials — one for Africa’s initial Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network slicing deployment over a live 4G and 5G commercial network, according to Inside Towers. The second trial was for Android devices with Google. Additionally, Ericsson showed network infrastructure for different slices on one device running Android 13, which supported enterprise and consumer applications.

Ericsson released a whitepaper alongside its network slicing trials, which made a business case for giving gamers their own high-performance slice of the network. inCode, Ericsson North America’s strategy consulting division, said gamers would pay $10 more per month for an advanced performance slice.

The 5G network slicing market also looks to be quite lucrative, according to Research and Markets’ report, 5G Network Slicing Market by Infrastructure, Spectrum Band, Segment, Industry Vertical, Application and Services 2022 – 2027. The market is expected to reach $4.9 billion globally by 2027. Meanwhile global 5G slicing professional services are projected to reach $324.7 million by that same year.

The United States is projected to lead the market, followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. However, system integrators, vendors and carriers would all have to collaborate to hit those numbers, according to the report.

“As networks become increasingly more complex, we see service providers taking a more intent-based networking approach to network management,” the report said. “Accordingly, leading carriers are incorporating various forms of network optimization such as network slicing into their OSS/BSS capabilities. This will be particularly important with 5G as the use cases for future applications and services are many and varied in terms of type, industry vertical focus, and requirements.”

Research and Markets also projected that enterprises will lead the slicing market. Smaller companies will be at the forefront and are expected to grow 50 percent faster than corporations. However, private wireless networks will have to engage with vertical markets more if 5G slicing is going to address their needs.

“There is a keen need for service providers of all types (carrier, managed service, business user) to coordinate with application providers,” Research and Markets wrote.

Meanwhile, Safaricom’s network slicing trial in Nairobi, Kenya, proved that MNO can support new enterprise network services, such as fast lane Internet access and app slicing, Nokia said. Additionally, enterprise locations received secure FWA slice connectivity as did the private and public application clouds, Inside Towers reports.

Nokia’s trial with Google, took place in Tampere, Finland. The test run included LTE-5G NR slice functionality, which will let operators use current network assets and recently deployed 5G equipment.

Meanwhile, it was a little less than two years ago when Samsung and KDDI successfully completed the first 5G end-to-end network slicing demonstration with a RAN Intelligent Controller in Tokyo, Japan.



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