SK Telecom, DT and Ericsson demo 5G roaming via network slicing

Credit: Africa Studio /

SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have jointly built and demonstrated what they say is the world’s first intercontinental 5G trial network that also supports federated network slicing for 5G roaming.

SK Telecom and DT network slices are now available in the other operator’s footprint, connecting Korea and Germany. A proof-of-concept has been implemented and successfully evaluated, featuring the creation and roaming extension of network slices optimized for augmented reality and maintenance services.

In 5G, network slicing will allow the operator to configure an end-to-end network that provides the desired overall functionality and service parameters. Federated network slicing for 5G roaming extends this concept to a visited network. This technology will make it possible for an operator to provide a network service globally, making sure that the customer does not need individual agreements with different operators for a global service experience.

”5G is not just a faster network. 5G will provide extreme user experience anywhere and anytime, even when the user roams across different operators globally”, says Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO of SK Telecom. “Federated network slicing will enable seamless platform sharing amongst operators at a global scale for continuous and guaranteed user experience.”

“Our customers are demanding global connectivity with a unified service experience,” says Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO of Deutsche Telekom. “Network slicing is envisaged as a key enabler to support multiple services in the 5G era. Today’s breakthrough shows we can extend that concept to ensure optimized service experiences with global reach for our customers.”

Ulf Ewaldsson, senior VP and chief strategy and technology officer at Ericsson said that network slices in a 5G context will be like “virtual networks on-demand”.

A pre-requisite for federated network slicing for 5G is an enhanced cooperation model where operators open up their network to host partner services. The home and visited operators must have agreements in place that enable the recreation of a given network slice in the visited network.

These agreements should cover aspects such as: network slice availability at the access layer (cellular and/or fixed), availability in the core network and the connection to customer application servers. The hosting of edge cloud resources by the visited network enables the execution of special business functions that demand high throughput and low latency, close to the customer in the visited network.

The proof-of-concept uses federated network slicing functionality to run components of the 5G core of the home network in the visited network. The demo featured an industrial maintenance use case involving a repair worker communicating via AR with support colleagues in a visited network. The scenario uses local breakout and edge cloud to enable the best service experience in terms of latency and throughput for the AR repairman.

The demonstration was hosted at DT’s corporate R&D center in Bonn and SK Telecom’s 5G Testbed at the BMW driving center in Yeongjong-do.

The demo also follows the joint announcement at last year’s MWC Shanghai event by SK Telecom, DT, and Ericsson of their global partnership to develop the groundbreaking 5G technology for such a network.

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