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February 28, 2022
Finnish kit vendor Nokia has hit the ground running at this year’s Mobile World Congress, announcing commercial 5G edge slicing trials with Cellcom and Telia.
The trial with Israeli telco Cellcom focuses on network slices tailored for business applications and customer experience, as well as enterprise interconnectivity over a high-speed metro network. Telia meanwhile has partnered with mining kit maker Sandvik to assess how different 5G edge slicing functions operate with different equipment and digital applications at a test mine in Tampere, Finland. Nokia claims these are the world’s first 5G edge slicing trials on live commercial networks.
“Nokia was the first vendor to offer a network slicing solution and we are proud to continue this pioneering story by being the first to offer 5G edge slicing to our customers,” said Tommi Uitto, president of Nokia’s mobile networks business. “These successful trials cover different use cases and customer requirements and demonstrate the possibilities of network slicing. I look forward to seeing this important new area grow and deliver opportunities to our customers in the coming year.”
Indeed, the announcement comes as IDC predicts enterprise and service provider spending on edge hardware, software and services will reach $176 billion this year, rising to $274 billion by 2025.
Nokia’s 5G edge slicing solution is the latest iteration of its 4G/5G network slicing technology, which was first unveiled in February 2020. Nokia had intended to show it off at that year’s MWC, but the global pandemic had other ideas. The solution enables operators to control and manage the network slice centrally, but carry critical business data traffic locally. It is scalable so that the same virtualised network infrastructure can support multiple customers in the same area. So one operator could offer 5G edge slicing to several different companies based in the same business park, for example.
“[Nokia’s] new 5G edge slicing solution allows Cellcom to differentiate itself in the market with innovative enterprise solutions. It also enables us to develop new opportunities with cloud application service providers,” said Yaniv Koriat, CTO and VP of engineering at Cellcom.
Meanwhile customers like Sandvik might require multiple slices to support different processes, like real-time control of mining equipment – which would necessitate high throughput and low latency – or managing access to certain categories of corporate data.
“We are delighted to be the first to deploy the first-ever 5G edge slicing solution together with Nokia and our important customer Sandvik, who is investing heavily in digital mining technologies and the technology environment in its test mine in Tampere,” said Telia Finland CTO Jari Collin. “Our advanced 5G network supports our customers’ business by enabling new kinds of services and making the network more efficient.”
Nokia has a tendency to build up to MWC with a steady stream of announcements ahead of a media blitz at the event itself, and this year is no exception. Last week it took the wraps off its AI-based OSS solution, called Intelligent RAN Operations. Nokia also unveiled two software-as-a-service (SaaS) products last week: one to improve and automate network data analytics; the other to help operators securely manage eSIM and iSIM device subscriptions.
It’s not been all software though. Nokia also launched last week a new 5G dual-band outdoor radio, the snappily-titled UBT-T XP Dual Band Radio. Despite the flurry of announcements already, it would come as no surprise whatsoever if Nokia has some more saved up for later this week. In the meantime, here’s a couple of vids.
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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