5G Network Slicing Set to Gain Momentum in Asia-Pacific as New Use Cases Emerge, but Not without Hurdles

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By Matthias Foo | 1Q 2023 | IN-6816

Leveraging 5G Network Slicing (NS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Far EasTone Telecom (FET) and Ericsson have delivered the world’s first 5G Smart Patrol Car solution that arms the Kaohsiung City Police Department with the tools to identify stolen vehicles in real time. In light of this announcement, this ABI Insight takes a look at the future growth potential and challenges faced by 5G NS technology today.

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Fighting Crime with 5G: A New Application for 5G Network Slicing


In December 2022, Far EasTone Telecom (FET) and Ericsson delivered the world’s first 5G Smart Patrol Car solution to the Kaohsiung City Police Department in Taiwan. This solution uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G Network Slicing (NS) technologies to enable the identification of stolen vehicles. The high data throughput and low latencies provided by Ericsson’s 5G NS solution enables High-Definition (HD) videos to be transmitted in real time to a regional site where an AI image analysis solution can identify vehicles that are reported stolen. In addition, as police patrol cars will be continuously moving around while on patrols, Ericsson’s Dynamic Radio Resource Partitioning, a feature of 5G NS, plays a key role in the solution by allowing for dynamic and optimal management of radio resources, while ensuring that the required performance level for each service is still met.

With many Communication Service Providers (CSPs) having invested millions into building their 5G Standalone (SA) networks, which support commercial 5G NS services, any new 5G NS use case will definitely be welcome news, especially with the technology still in its nascent stages.

The Case for 5G Network Slicing Technology in Asia-Pacific


NS is considered a key technology for 5G cellular connectivity for enterprise vertical applications. NS enables enterprises to run multiple logical networks on a commonly shared infrastructure spanning multiple domains (radio, transport, core, and edge), promoting flexibility and dedicated network slices customized for different use cases (see the recent ABI Insight, “Private or Public Networks for Private Use?” (IN-6028)). For example, a CSP could create a high bandwidth network slice for data-intensive applications, a low-latency slice for critical services, and/or a slice meeting the specific requirements of the end user (as exemplified by the 5G Smart Patrol Car solution).

The main appeal of 5G NS is its ability to provide enterprises with a “private-like” network according to their specific requirements without the need to actually deploy a physical private network, which is capital intensive and will typically require dedicated Information Technology (IT) teams to maintain. 5G NS presents a good opportunity for smaller companies to take advantage of 5G’s unique capabilities to deliver niche and innovative solutions, as well as for CSPs to create new revenue streams via the provision of these customized slices.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, the emergence of new and innovative 5G NS trials and Proof of Concept (POC) use cases are expected to drive the growth potential of the technology, as both CSPs and enterprises alike begin to explore more potential applications of 5G NS. Apart from the 5G Smart Patrol Car solution, some other notable case examples of 5G NS innovation projects include China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port, Singtel’s broadcast of the Grand Prix Season Singapore 2022, and the West China Second University Hospital in China. 5G NS deployment is also expected to gain momentum in the coming years as more CSPs, such as Reliance Jio, begin to roll out their 5G SA networks and as the NS technology continues to mature. At the end of 2022, Samsung and KDDI successfully demonstrated the creation of network slices using a Radio Access Network (RAN) Intelligent Controller (RIC) on a live commercial 5G SA network. In this regard, ABI Research anticipates that 5G NS revenue in the Asia-Pacific region will grow from US$151 million in 2022 to US$12.6 billion in 2028 (a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 109%).

Forward Momentum for 5G Network Slicing, but Not without Challenges


Despite the purported benefits of 5G NS, it should be noted that the technology is still in its nascent stages and the current lack of diverse real-world applications (beyond trials and POCs) could hinder widespread adoption of the technology. As with the initial launch of any new technology, end users tend to be skeptical about adopting these new technologies unless a key value proposition can be clearly demonstrated. Therefore, it is crucial for CSPs to work closely with equipment vendors and System Integrators (SIs) to identify key business problems and demonstrate the capabilities of 5G NS in a greater range of real-world applications. The 5G Smart Patrol Car solution is a good illustration of how this can be done, but many more use cases need to be developed for the technology to fully take flight.

It is also important for CSPs to identify and address key concerns that enterprises may have regarding the use of 5G network slices. For example, it is expected that cybersecurity will be a key area of concern for enterprises, given the potential implications/consequences of cybersecurity attacks on 5G network slices (some of which may be supporting critical services). According to the recent guidelines on the security risks associated with 5G NS and mitigation strategies issued by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), 5G NS adds complexity to network security as poor management of network slices could allow malicious actors to access data in other slices and/or prevent access to them, with Denial-of-Service (DoS), Man-in-the-Middle (MITM), and configuration attacks being identified as three critical risks for 5G NS technology.

CSPs should consider working closely with equipment vendors, as well as academic and industry experts, to develop solutions to address these concerns. A useful example to look at is the “5G and beyond” mobile network technology consortium formed by the University of Waterloo in Canada, where academic and industry subject matter experts, including from equipment vendors and CSPs, come together to develop solutions to address cybersecurity concerns associated with 5G NS. More of such collaborations will definitely be beneficial in helping create a suitable ecosystem where 5G NS can truly thrive.



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