Select operators are — finally! — starting to roll out network slicing based on cloud native standalone (SA) 5G.

Case in point, Australian mobile network operator (MNO) Telstra has started to roll out connected construction sites in the rugged Aussie countryside that use 5G SA and network slicing. The MNO said that 5G allowed a site to be up and running “months sooner” than a fiber system.

“The service qualified site needed a 20Mbps committed upload link for its CCTV cameras to protect the site. Likewise for its general data connection, the site needed a committed 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload link,” Telstra said.

“Before 5G Standalone enabled network slicing, it would be impossible to commit to such a connection with so many variables on a cell network. However, for this site, we were able to reserve slices for the construction site’s devices from our 5G network in the area,” the MNO explained.

Some cranky analysts though, think that network slicing is not that bonzer, and may have been somewhat superseded for enterprise customers by the coming of 5G private networking. 

“Private 5G & 4G are definitely more important for on-prem / campus networks – although dependent on spectrum,” Dean Bubley, founder of Disruptive Analysis wrote to Silverlinings. “Worth noting that MNO enterprise B2B units can sell them too, like any integrator.”

Bubley said that network slicing had some uses, for instance, carving out a section of cell capacity for either fixed wireless access or mobile broadband use. “The main uses I expect are internally within MNOs or maybe for wholesale to [mobile virtual network operators]. I’m less convinced of enterprise pitches,” he wrote.

It’s still very early days for 5G network slicing, so we’ll see.

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