Slicing has long been held up as one of the monetizations opportunities for residential customers, but few seem to be familiar with it beyond a concept, so I thought I’d take a look at how it actually works in Android, and how an end user would interact with it.
For starters, there’s a little used hook in Android TelephonyManager called purchasePremiumCapability, this method can be called by a carrier’s self care app.
You can pass it the type of “Slice” (capability) to purchase, for example PREMIUM_CAPABILITY_PRIORITIZE_LATENCY for the slice.
Operators would need the Telephony Permission for their app, and a function from the app in order to activate this, but it doesn’t require on Android Carrier Privileges and a matching signature on the SIM card, although there’s a lot of good reasons to include this in your Android Manifest for a Carrier Self-Care app.
We’ve made a little test app we use for things like enabling VoLTE, setting the APNs, setting carrier config, etc, etc. I added the Purchase Slice capability to it and give it a shot.
And the hook works, I was able to “purchase” a Slice.
I did some sleuthing to find if any self-care apps from carriers have implemented this functionality for standards-based slicing, and I couldn’t find any, I’m curious to see if it takes off – as I’ve written about previously slicing capabilities are not new in cellular, but the attempt to monetise it is.