Vodafone gives 5G network slicing the royal treatment

And the crown goes to… Vodafone UK, for providing 5G network slicing for the broadcast of the coronation of King Charles III at London’s Westminster Abbey this Saturday, May 6.

Vodafone said it’s the first time any U.K. operator has provided a slice of its public 5G standalone (SA) network for a major broadcast event in the country.

It will be working with broadcasting partner ITN, dedicating a slice of the 5G SA network to ITN for the transfer of the live coronation broadcast coverage from Westminster to ITN’s newsroom several miles away in Gray’s Inn Road, London. There, it will be shared across the nation and then worldwide.

“This innovative partnership will make the Coronation of HM King Charles III the first 5G SA coronation. We are proud to be working with ITN to play our part in helping make this special event happen,” said Vodafone U.K. Business Director Nick Gliddon in a statement.

“Innovation is at the heart of Vodafone, from the first text message to the first mobile call, we have been central in the UK’s adoption of digital technology. Now we are continuing this tradition by being the first to switch on 5G SA for the public to trial and providing a slice of this network for the Coronation,” he added.

Vodafone also said it’s an exciting development for the broadcasting industry. Network slicing gives broadcasters a simpler and quicker alternative to deploying a private mobile network for video transmission – with no extra heavy-duty equipment to bring to a job site or additional spectrum licensing – and it can all be accessed via a SIM card.

Vodafone added that network slicing on 5G SA means that a minimum upload speed can be set to guarantee content is uploaded quickly and reliably for live streaming, and it removes the risk of network congestion impacting performance.

Ericsson has been working with the broadcast industry to demonstrate how network slicing can be used. Vodafone conducted trials of the technology in its lab at Coventry University with Ericsson and ITN’s technology partner Live U and it’s now inviting other media companies and software developers to come and develop 5G SA use cases.

Beyond the media sector, 5G SA brings possibilities in artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, holographic calls, the IoT and more, according to Vodafone.

Last year, Vodafone and Ericsson announced that they had completed the U.K.’s first 5G SA network slicing trial for a virtual reality use case in a retail store.