Italy launches pre-commercial 5G trials in five cities

Friday 17 March 2017 | 08:43 CET | News

Italy's Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) has announced that the five cities selected for pre-commercial trials of 5G networks are Milan and Prato in the north of the country, L'Aquila in the centre, and Bari and Matera in the south. The idea is to support the early introduction of 5G networks in line with the European Commission’s 5G Action Plan, which required Members States to identify at least one city for 5G trials by 2018. "We want to be in the leading group. Italy accepts the European challenge and raises the bar," said Italian undersecretary for economic development in charge of telecommunications Antonello Giacomelli.

The government will make available spectrum in the 3.4 and 3.8 GHz bands for the 5G trials, with the first tender lot encompassing the Milan metropolitan area, the second Prato and L'Aquila, and the third Bari and Matera. Interested bidders have until 15 May to submit their applications, with the winning projects selected by 14 July and due to start by the end of the year. The call is open to operators as well as to bodies such as universities and research centres, who will be invited to carry out tests in a wide variety of urban settings, said MISE.

The five selected cities will join Turin, where Telecom Italia started working on the installation of 100 5G-ready small cells in the main areas of the city by the end of this year. A 5G technology trial will be launched in 2018 and will involve up to a maximum of 3,000 users who will be able to take advantage of a further 200 high speed broadband sites ahead of full coverage by 2020.

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