A new functionality in the upcoming release of Android 14, supported by Ericsson’s core network software, will enable users to request a 5G network slice for enhanced performance for specific times for any application that can use a 5G network slice provisioned by the communications service provider (CSP).
The new functionality, enabled with the latest Ericsson core network version as well as the latest version of Android, is meant for service providers to offer their consumer subscribers the choice of enhanced performance for applications via a 5G network slice as part of their 5G Standalone equipped subscription plans.
For devices running Android 12 or higher, Android already provides support for 5G network slicing. From Android 13, app developers can include functions and capabilities in their applications to align with certain network characteristics (such as lower latency, higher bandwidth or other characteristics) offered by a CSP-provisioned network slice. If the CSP offers a slice with those particular characteristics, and the ability to use the slice is included in the application, the subscriber can purchase access to it for a unique 5G experience. Since Android started to support the network slicing capability, Ericsson and partners have delivered multiple pioneering network slicing projects using the Android device ecosystem.
Today’s announcement brings an added element of flexibility to what is possible with network slicing on Android devices, enabling a requested slice to be provisioned to a subscriber on request and for a time-limited period according to their subscription plan. The enhanced performance slice empowers CSPs and developers to add flexibility to applications to better suit subscriber and user needs, making it easier for them to get the experience they want, when they want, for how long they want it.
Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Core Networks, Ericsson says: “Enhancing network slicing with this on-demand functionality gives communications service providers wider choices and more flexibility when it comes to developing new and exciting services for consumer subscribers. As well as this, it simplifies onboarding of subscribers to experience the true value of 5G. Ericsson has been driving superior service experience and also 5G monetization from the get-go.”
The network slice characteristics and other elements of the 5G network slice such as duration, cost and availability will be determined and provisioned by CSPs offering the premium function as part of the subscriber’s plan. Depending on what developers include in their products, CSPs could empower users to choose, for example, a performance enhancement for all applications on the device, an ongoing enhanced performance slice for enabled applications, or additional performance when an application is started (for instance, a mobile game).
The functionality is supported on the device by the User-Equipment Route Selection Policy (URSP) technology which allows a device to dynamically select a slice, or multiple slices, provisioned by a CSP. It is enabled on the network side via evolution of the Ericsson 5G Core network, notably by enhanced capabilities in Ericsson Cloud User Management, Policy control and Service Activation and Secure Entitlement Server (SES) which will enable CSPs to notify and inform subscribers with information on terms and conditions, price of feature and payment methods among other items, and help manage subscriber eligibility, quality of service control, time validity, and subscription updates when necessary.