Agreement builds on wide-ranging 5G partnership; work to take place at telco’s Adastral Park facility.

BT and Huawei this week announced they will undertake joint research into 5G network slicing.

Network slicing is when a single physical network is divided, or sliced, into several virtual networks. The parameters of each slice are then tailored to address specific use cases.

One example given by BT this week described creating a 5G network slice specifically for carrying TV traffic at a live music event, ensuring the live feed stays up and running, even as thousands of audience members stream videos with their smartphones.

New slices could be created as needed, BT said. For instance, if there was an emergency in the crowd during the above event, a new network slice could be created specifically for use by safety personnel.

"Customers are increasingly demanding converged networks that deliver a mix of flexibility, reliability and optimisation. It’s our role to ensure that our fixed and mobile networks deliver the best possible experience for customers regardless of the demands placed on them," said Howard Watson, CEO of technology, service and operations at BT, on Wednesday.

"That’s why we’re excited about the possibilities of this new stream of research with Huawei, and the added flexibility network slicing may offer," he said.

Wednesday’s agreement builds on the joint 5G research agreement established between BT and Huawei in December 2016.

The work itself will be carried out at BT’s Adastral Park research facility in Ipswich.

"There are two different ways to realise the digitalisation of society, the first one is to have dedicated infrastructure for different requirements, the second one is to have a common infrastructure serving different vertical industries," said Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei’s 5G product line.

"I believe the latter, which uses network slicing, will be critical to the effective delivery of services and improved efficiency," he said.