T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer John Saw says that T-Mobile pulled off the first real use of 5G network slicing in the U.S. this summer at a high-diving event in Boston sponsored by Red Bull. The network slicing was used for remote video production.
T-Mobile is able to use network slicing because it has a 5G standalone (SA) network that uses 5G technologies in both its radio access network (RAN) as well as its core network. 5G SA networks can be configured into multiple virtual network slices, optimized for the unique needs of different types of traffic.
Saw said, “We used a 5G Hybrid Mobile Network from T-Mobile's 5G Advanced Network Solution suite paired with the extreme power of our nationwide 5G SA network to boost Red Bull’s broadcasting capabilities. This customized slice gave the broadcast team supercharged wireless uplink speeds so they could easily and quickly transfer high-resolution content from cameras and a video drone circling the event to the Red Bull production team in near real-time over T-Mobile 5G.”
He said the uplink speeds reached as high as 276 Mpbs.
Saw said the separate network slice was really helpful because there were nearly 20,000 people at the event, using their devices to send pictures and videos. But “because of network slicing and traffic management, their traffic did not impact the Red Bull production – and vice versa.”
Saw said network slicing can also help to maximize the efficient use of spectrum. “With an increase in demand straining limited spectrum resources, network slicing allows us to ensure that critical communication needs are met without having to build excessive capacity scaled to meet extreme loads,” he said.
In fact, earlier this year, operators and vendors at MWC 2023 in Barcelona talked about the opportunities to use network slicing simply to optimize and manage traffic on their own networks. Of course, operators also want to use network slicing to sell slices to enterprises for their specific needs.
T-Mobile has also launched a network slicing beta for developers who are working on video calling applications. With a customized network slice, developers can test video calling applications that require consistent uplink and downlink speeds.
Saw said its beta has garnered interest from developers at companies, including Dialpad, Google, Webex by Cisco and Zoom.