Bringing the console experience to mobile

Last month, we ran a trial at Coventry University with our partner Ericsson to understand how this new network technology could impact the gaming experience and the results were beyond what we could have expected.

Guest author

August 21, 2023

5 Min Read
Bringing the console experience to mobile periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Andrea Donà, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, describes the significance of a recent network slicing trial.

At Vodafone, we are constantly looking for ways connectivity can create novel connectivity experiences. 5G Standalone presents us with new capabilities and few areas will benefit more than gaming.

Last month, we ran a trial at Coventry University with our partner Ericsson to understand how this new network technology could impact the gaming experience and the results were beyond what we could have expected.

In short, the trial was a success. Data download and upload was improved by 270% on average, jitter (consistency of performance) was improved by 57% and latency (the time in which applications take to react to commands) decreased by 25%.

We believe the experience you have come to expect from gaming at home over a broadband connection on a console can be replicated on mobile devices. This means a much more intuitive, immersive experience, bringing a new lease of life to the mobile gaming environment.

Setting the scene

At Coventry University, we brought together gamers of all types and experience levels. This ranged from a grandmother and grandchild, through to hardcore PC enthusiasts to casual mobile gamers passing away spare time.

The trial had each of the participants playing games under two different connectivity scenarios. Firstly, Scenario A which is what we would expect from a busy network in a city centre. And secondly, a network that was optimised for the gaming experience using a concept called network slicing.

While Scenario A acted as a baseline, Scenario B allowed us to see what was possible in the future.

What is network slicing

Network slicing is a new concept which is enabled by installing a 5G Standalone network across the UK. It allows Vodafone to partition the connectivity services we offer customers to different slices. Each slice is isolated from others, allowing each one to be configured differently and making sure what is happening on one doesn’t impact another.

This is a very important approach to delivering connectivity because it enables us to do things we can’t do today.

Telecoms networks today are homogeneous experiences, meaning everyone and everything is connected the same way. That is mostly fine, but if you have use cases that have specific connectivity requirements, they won’t work as desired.

For example, a self-driving car would require something called low latency (latency is the time it takes for an application to respond) while jitter (the consistency of performance) is incredibly important for gaming.

Delivering a new gaming experience

For Scenario A, the trial participants got the experience we largely expected. For the most part, it was fine, but there were times were devices struggled to connect to the cloud consistently, jitter presented challenges and sometimes latency and connection speeds weren’t good enough.

We have come to expect this experience in busy locations, and it does perhaps explain why more complex and immersive gaming content hasn’t taken off for mobile devices.

However, for Scenario B, triallists experienced a completely different type of connectivity environment. The network slice was configured to guarantee high download and upload speeds, low latency and to almost eradicate jitter. 88% of the trial participants ranked their satisfaction on the 5G Standalone connectivity experience at least 8/10.

With this network configuration, triallists said the experience was similar to what they would expect when gaming while connected to home broadband.

New connectivity, new experiences, new content

This new connectivity experience enables two things.

Firstly, a more enhanced and reliable gaming experience. By providing a much more consistent connectivity, gamers will no longer be held back by today’s frustrations.

Secondly, it opens the door to the unknown.

Developers create content with the tools they have available today. They also work within the limitations that are present today.

For the most part, these limitations are not a barrier to creating engaging content and gaming experiences, but what if we could lower latency, increase throughput, reduce jitter, and provide more reliable, consistent connections to the cloud.

When you combine 5G Standalone connectivity, including features like network slicing, and may other technology developments like edge computing, you are removing the limitations we currently work within. And when you remove limitations, you have the freedom to create something that wouldn’t be possible today.

Why 5G Standalone matters

The 5G services that are available today are largely reliant on some 4G technology which presents limitations. However, when we deploy 5G Standalone, and make use of network slicing, many of these limitations are removed.

5G Standalone is a network technology which can bring the impossible to life. We can deliver novel digital experiences for the consumer, with gaming being one of the biggest beneficiaries.

Of course, we are not there yet. Deploying 5G Standalone across the length and breadth of the UK is an incredibly difficult undertaking, not to mention how much it will cost. Our proposed merger with Three UK will enable us to spend more money on the network in a shorter period of time. We’ve already committed to spending £11 billion over the next decade should the deal be approved. It is critically important to bring the future of connectivity to everyone in society.

This trial is a stepping-stone to show what could be possible. We will now explore how we could bring these services to consumers and work with developers to innovate in ways we couldn’t before.


Andrea-Dona-Vodafone-150x150.jpgAndrea was appointed as Network and Development Director, Vodafone UK, in April 2021. This was part of a Group-wide restructuring that saw the creation of one European Digital & IT team and one integrated European network. Andrea joined Vodafone UK as the Head of Networks in March 2019 and has since managed the roll-out of Vodafone UK’s 5G and fibre networks, the company’s converged network strategy, as well as the delivery of the company’s network transformation, rationalisation and digital agenda. Prior to this, he held a number of senior technology positions, such as Head of Network and Managed Services at Ericsson, and Network Deployment Director at T-Mobile.


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