Press Release | 09 Jul 2024

Vodafone supports drinks service at Glastonbury through network slicing

Vodafone dedicated a small portion of its network at the 2024 Glastonbury Festival to connect 102 of EBC's payment machines, using a technique known as network slicing.

  • Vodafone partnered with one of Glastonbury Festival’s onsite drinks vendors to trial network slicing technology to speed up card transactions, allowing Festivalgoers to spend more time at the stages.
  • This years’ Festival brought together 200,000 attendees, with more than 100 stages and almost 1,000 trading stalls, generating 225 TB of data across Vodafone’s network – a year-on-year increase of 33%.
  • Network slicing allowed Vodafone to reserve a small portion of the network to one of the Festival bar operators to increase reliability of payment machines on three of their ten sites.

Vodafone has successfully completed a network slicing demonstration, offering a dedicated slice of connectivity to EBC, one of the biggest vendors of beverages at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, ensuring business operations ran smoothly alongside record data usage.

Building a telecommunications network for over 200,000 people is a complex task at the best of times, but the challenge is compounded for the Glastonbury Festival. For five days a year, the site of Glastonbury Festival becomes the fourth largest population centre in the South West, before quickly returning to picturesque grazing grounds for cattle.

Vodafone breaks network data records at Glastonbury Festival yet again

225 terabytes of data was consumed by data hungry Festival-goers.

To ensure customers can stay connected and share experiences with loved ones, Vodafone constructs a temporary telecoms network in the space of three weeks. This year, the network not only connected festivalgoers, but also EBC to ensure customer electronic payments were able to be processed without delay.

Cutting processing times and speeding-up service

As part of the demonstration at Glastonbury Festival, Vodafone dedicated a small portion of the network to connect the EBC payment machines, through a technique known as network slicing.

EBC manage 10 onsite bars across the Festival, each of which has multiple card machines. The demonstration connected three sites via a slice, which in total served 102 tills. During peak times, each till processed two transactions a minute.

Network slicing: Everything you need to know

Network slicing, a new way of delivering customised connectivity experiences, will be made possible by the introduction of 5G Standalone (5G SA). But what is it and why do we need it?

Network slicing is a 5G Standalone capability which allows Vodafone to create different virtual networks on the same physical infrastructure. Known as slices, each one is dedicated to a particular service, in this case providing connectivity to the EBC payment machines, ensuring its performance is not impacted by other users’ demands on the network. Crucially, the performance capabilities of each slice can be customised to the use cases that it connects.

Nick Gliddon, Business Director, Vodafone UK, said: “The future of digital technology is designed to connect anything and everything – it is so much more than a network for our smartphones and will impact every facet of our lives.”

The slice was optimised to support the maximum number of concurrent transactions during peak busy periods and was protected from network congestion. The result was that payment machines were not impacted by general data usage, meaning customers were served faster, so they could spend more time enjoying the festival rather than standing in queues.

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.

Ryan Kingsley, Stock Manager, EBC, said: “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!”

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Notes to Editors

What is 5G Standalone and how is it different to 5G services today?

5G Standalone is the fully upgraded version of 5G connectivity. It offers significant benefits over 4G networks and allows companies to create new services that would have been impossible previously.

The 5G service which has been available since 2019 in known as 5G Non-standalone. This is because some of the network has been upgraded, but other parts still rely on 4G infrastructure. With 5G Non-standalone, you get some benefits, such as increased download speeds, but this is only a fraction of what 5G Standalone can deliver.

In the short-term, the Vodafone 5G Standalone network will offer the following benefits:

  • Up to 25% longer battery life thanks to a new feature of 5G Standalone known as Bandwidth Part (BWP) power saving feature, which allows the device to operate using much smaller bandwidth.
  • The ability to have better connectivity in busy areas. Whereas 4G may have experienced buffering and lag in busy areas, 5G Standalone makes much more efficient use of the radio airwaves that connect our devices to the network, significantly increasing the number of people who can connect to the network at the same time.
  • 5G Standalone is a much more reliable service than 4G and 5G Non-standalone because it makes use of the latest available technology and techniques to deliver services.

In the future, Vodafone’s 5G Standalone network will:

  • Offer dramatically faster upload and download speeds.
  • Introduce low latency capabilities, which will dramatically improve buffering and lag when connecting to the network. Latency is the time is takes for devices to connect to the cloud and react to commands. This is only fractions of a second, but the lower the latency the better the service. This is important for applications such as augmented and virtual reality (where even a fraction of a second delay could cause motion sickness), gaming services (milliseconds count in real-time player-versus-player applications) and autonomous operations (such as robotics and self-operating vehicles).
  • 5G Standalone also enables new services such as network slicing.

What is network slicing?

Network slicing is a new service for business customers and application developers, enabled by the deployment of 5G Standalone networks. The service allows mobile operators to create multiple virtual network slices which operate across the same physical network. Each slice is isolated from other network traffic to give dedicated and guaranteed performance, with the features of the slice tailored to the use case requirements.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


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