It’s Time to Unleash Network Slicing

By John Saw, EVP & Chief Technology OfficerAugust 28, 2023

Since T-Mobile became the Un-carrier, innovation has been at the heart of everything we do. From eliminating contracts (the first-ever Un-carrier move) and unleashing mobile video, to launching the world’s first nationwide 5G standalone (SA) network, we have been laser-focused on shaking up the industry and solving pain points for the benefit of wireless users around the globe – whether that be ending greedy carrier practices or spearheading groundbreaking technologies.

Now we are leading the charge globally to bring one of the biggest promises of 5G to life: network slicing. Using new network management capabilities, our 5G SA network can be configured into multiple virtual networks (aka slices) – each with customized network performance characteristics optimized for the unique needs of different types of traffic, such as specialized or enterprise services. Think highly reliable throughput for critical real-time communications where the slightest hiccup in wireless connectivity means lost words … or consistent low latency (network responsiveness) for cloud gaming where poor latency can mean “Game Over.”

This summer, we reached a huge milestone, pulling off the country’s first use of 5G network slicing for remote video production on a commercial network. At Red Bull’s Cliff Diving event in Boston, we used a 5G Hybrid Mobile Network from T-Mobile's 5G Advanced Network Solution (ANS) 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. And when I say supercharged uplink speeds, I’m talking up to 276 Mbps!

T-Mobile pulled off the country’s first use of 5G network slicing for remote video production on a commercial network at Red Bull’s Cliff Diving event in Boston

Meanwhile, nearly 20,000 visitors were in attendance, using their devices as they normally would – uploading pictures and videos of the event. Because of network slicing and traffic management, their traffic did not impact the Red Bull production – and vice versa. Did you see what happened to a bunch of robo-taxis in San Francisco earlier this month? They caused a traffic jam when the wireless network supporting them had issues – largely because of the increased data usage at a nearby concert. With network slicing, we can work with communities to make key infrastructure and transportation networks more reliable, helping to prevent something like that from happening again. Network slicing also allows us 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.

While the Red Bull implementation was focused on specialized services, we can also base network slicing on specific application types for enterprise customers across the country. Earlier this month we launched a first-of-its-kind network slicing beta for developers who are working to supercharge their video calling applications with the power of 5G SA. With a customized network slice, developers can sign up to test video calling applications that require consistent uplink and downlink speeds along with increased reliability. In the weeks since, we’ve seen tremendous interest from the developer community with dozens of companies large and small signing up to join the likes of Dialpad, Google, Webex by Cisco, Zoom and more.

With the only nationwide 5G SA network in the US, we are uniquely positioned to bring the dream of network slicing to life, delivering 5G benefits across the country. That’s why we’re driving so hard to implement advanced technologies like network slicing and 5G carrier aggregation, taking the entire wireless industry along with us into the future.

It’s time we fulfill the promise of 5G. And I’m so incredibly proud to say T-Mobile is leading the charge.