South Korean Carriers Embrace Network Slicing

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South Korea is shaping as an early adopter for “network slicing” technology which allows mobile network operators to run multiple virtual networks within a single physical network.

Seoul’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has revised the guideline for network neutrality so that a 5G special lane called “network slicing” that is used for special purposes such as autonomous vehicles and smart factories is allowed.

Mobile carrier SK Telecom has already successfully applied slicing technology to its network, separating out a virtual network from its 5G commercial network and allowing corporate customers to develop various services more easily and quickly. SK Telecom (SKT) said that it can provide an optimal network depending on the characteristics of each service, such as security services, game services, and specific corporate services. Up to eight network slice interworking is supported at the same time by interworking a different slice network in accordance with app service characteristics in one terminal.

The global Network Slicing Market size is projected to grow from USD 161 million in 2020 to USD 1.3 billion  by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51.5% during the forecast period.

The market is gaining traction due to rising demand for broadband services over a mobile network, virtualization of networks, significant growth in mobile data traffic volumes, and a rise in demand for high-speed and large network coverage are driving the growth of the network slicing market.

SKT said the establishment of an individual 5G network will activate future growth businesses, such as smart factories, smart hospitals and autonomous driving, while improving the quality of augmented reality, virtual reality, and cloud games.

"This technology development is meaningful as it laid the technical foundation for the future evolution of 5G into a service-aware network that recognizes optimal communication quality conditions for each service and automatically provides appropriate networks," SKT's 5GX Labs head Park Jong-kwan said.

SKT has developed an orchestration solution that can operate and manage the entire stage of each sliced individual network. Through upgraded technology, SKT will apply network slicing technology to all base stations to provide customized network services.

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