Network Slicing delivers clear economic benefits – but why wait for 5G?

| 3 mins read
Network slicing has been shown to deliver financial benefits, from revenue growth to cost savings. It’s essential for 5G but the introduction of slicing can benefit operators today. Tambora is already helping operators to benefit from network slicing on 4G, paving the way for 5G use cases.
Research from Ericsson shows that Network Slicing – “which allows operators to segment the network to support particular services and deploy multiple logical networks for different service types over one common infrastructure [1]” – delivers clear economic benefits. The research notes that these are threefold, offering:
  • Revenue growth
  • OPEX reduction
  • CAPEX savings
The research is based on trials Ericsson conducted with BT in the UK and provide valuable insights for those operators considering network slicing as part of their future network evolution plans. Since network slicing is a key technology for 5G, it can be imagined that the results have been eagerly anticipated – and that there will be many further studies in the coming months and years.
All of which is great news, but we can see that there are two further points that need consideration. First, services. We need to think about the new services that slicing can enable, as well as the current services it can enhanced. Second, timing. While slicing is fundamental to 5G, it’s going to be some time before 5G enjoys widespread deployment, so are we to wait before the benefits can be secured?
With regard to services, there is a host of new possibilities, particularly as new IoT applications and use cases emerge. However, there are also existing services that can benefit from slicing technology. Video, for example, is a strong candidate, as is any service or application that has differential quality of service requirements.
Of course, video is placing huge demands on network infrastructure and operators are keen to launch content packages, so the ability to provide new service delivery guarantees – which can be enabled by slicing – is likely to be hugely attractive. But, this brings us to the second point: when.
Put simply, operators cannot just wait for 5G deployments to unlock benefits of slicing. They need to act now, for four reasons. First, they already have services (such as video) which can be optimised with slicing techniques. Second, they are beginning to venture into new IoT services and, to stay relevant, they need to be exploring new performance options today.
Third, slicing can help operators achieve differentiation, because they – and only they – control the network, end-to-end, including the last mile. Finally, they need to familiarise themselves with the technique, so that they can rapidly exploit new, as yet unknown opportunities in the future. If operators are to obtain the agility they seek, they cannot afford to wait.
So, while we welcome the research, we think it should be seen more as a call to action. Operators need to seize the opportunity to differentiate the services they can and will offer and to prepare for 5G.
That’s where we can help – we’ve already seen the benefits that slicing can deliver and we are working with operators today to help them unlock new revenue opportunities, based on tight coordination of policy control with slicing, particularly for last mile service optimisation. Our solution requires no CAPEX or OPEX and can deliver benefits today.
By adopting the Tambora gQoE solution, they can already enable network slicing on 4G networks and not only unlock benefits today, they can use it as a testing ground for other compelling use cases in readiness for 5G tomorrow.
Why wait? Find out how you can benefit from service enhancements across video and IoT domains, today.
[1] Ericsson “Scalable Network Opportunities”