Vodafone UK slices network at Glastonbury to support vendors

10 July 2024

Vodafone UK conducted another trial of Network Slicing technology on their latest 5G Standalone (SA) powered mobile broadband network at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, which despite heavy network load was able to dedicate a ‘slice’ of capacity to help drink vendors speed up card transactions.

Most existing 5G networks in the UK still have some dependencies on 4G, which slow them down and are known as Non-Standalone (NSA). By comparison, 5G Standalone (5GSA) reflects a pure end-to-end 5G network that can also deliver improvements such as ultra-low latency times (fast), better mobile broadband upload speeds, network slicing capabilities, better support for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increased reliability and security.

Vodafone has already conducted a number of Network Slicing trials on their newest 5GSA network and the Glastonbury Festival, with its high data usage, represented another opportunity. The operator reported that festival-goers consumed over 225TB of data during the event, up 33.14% on 2023, putting a huge load on their Cells on Wheels (COWs) masts and network setup.

“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!” said Ryan Kingsley, stock manager at EBC.

The slice was optimised to support the maximum number of concurrent transactions during peak busy periods and was protected from the risk of wider network congestion at the event. The result was that payment machines were not impacted by general data usage, meaning customers were served faster and didn’t need to spend as long in a queue.

Real-time connectivity is crucial to authorising card payments. Without real-time authentication of payments, it is estimated that 4% of revenues can be lost to fraudulent transactions.