Vodafone Trials 5G Network Slicing for Faster Festival Payments

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Vodafone recently partnered with EBC, a beverage vendor at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, U.K., to showcase the capabilities of network slicing in enhancing payment transactions. The demonstration took place at three of EBC’s ten beverage stands, each equipped to handle up to 102 tills, processing two transactions per minute during peak times.

5G network slicing leverages a cloud-native 5G architecture that creates isolated, bespoke end-to-end networks tailored for specific applications. These slices are protected from congestion, thus offering increased reliability and lower latency. In the context of EBC’s operations, network slicing provided real-time connectivity, which accelerated card payment authorizations.

Vodafone highlighted the significance of real-time authentication, stating that “without real-time authentication of payments, it is estimated that 4% of revenues can be lost to fraudulent transactions.” This trial was particularly crucial given the festival’s high data demands. With 200,000 attendees, the festival saw 225 TB of data usage, a 33% increase from the previous year.

Ryan Kingsley, EBC’s Stock Manager, praised the initiative, commenting, “Running some of the busiest bars at Glastonbury, it is so crucial that we have a stable data connection with the capacity to operate our tills. The Vodafone slice ensured that the three bars supported in the demonstration had that stable data connection and helped us serve our customers faster than ever before.”

Vodafone utilized the VMware Telco Cloud Platform for orchestrating and automating network slicing. According to the carrier’s CTO Johan Wibergh, standardizing on this platform aids in scaling services to meet growing demand effectively.

This demonstration of network slicing highlights its potential in high-density, high-transaction environments. However, the technological complexity and implementation costs might be hurdles for broader adoption. Advances like these signal a promising future for real-time, reliable connectivity in various sectors beyond just large events.

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