The pair’s latest trial offered users the chance to try mobile cloud gaming using a dedicated 5G standalone (SA) network slice

Could 5G standalone be a gamechanger for mobile cloud gaming? Vodafone and Ericsson think so, with their latest combined trial showing that 88% of gamers ranked their experience as 8/10 or above, compared to just 13% using non-optimised connectivity.

The trial, conducted at Coventry University, saw an undisclosed number of trialists invited to play cloud-based games on their smartphone in two different scenarios. Scenario A simulated a public network, while Scenario B used a 5G SA network slice that had been optimised for cloud gaming.

As a result of this optimisation, Scenario B’s network featured a 270% increase in download performance, a 25% decrease in latency, and 57% less jitter, according to Vodafone.

The results showed a clear distinction between the two scenarios. Of those experiencing cloud gaming using the Scenario A set-up, 63% rated the experience between 0/10 and 5/10, with just 13% ranking their experience as 8/10 or higher. By contract, of those experiencing the Scenario B set-up 88% ranked their experience as 8/10 or better.

“5G Standalone aims to deliver novel services that would not be possible on today’s networks. Few areas can benefit as much as cloud gaming, not only to improve customer experience, but to open the door to entirely new types of content. Today, immersive gaming is realistically limited to consoles and desktops, but with 5G Standalone, we can bring it to mobile devices,” said Phil Patel, Group Director of Product and Services at Vodafone.

“5G Standalone is not an upgrade on 4G, but an entirely new type of technology,” added Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone UK. “Through this trial, we provided a slice of connectivity, customised specifically for gaming, to provide a full fibre like experience over the airwaves. This is the value of network slicing – a more personalised connectivity service to make digital more in-tune with each customer.”

As always with Vodafone press releases of late, the company took the opportunity to espouse the virtues of their proposed merger with Three UK, noting that their proposed combined investment of £11 billion would see 5G SA coverage reach 99% of populated areas by 2034.

Indeed, Vodafone is already rolling out 5G SA in the UK, offering services to customers on the upgraded network via their ‘5G Ultra’ packages. However, it should be noted that the availability of 5G SA is currently limited, with only London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff included in the initial deployment, though more locations are expected to be added later this year.

What impact will 5G standalone and network slicing have on the type of services telcos can offer customers? Join the telecoms ecosystem in discussion at this year’s live Connected Britain conference

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