29 May 2018
| James Pearce
Italy is set to launch an auction of 5G spectrum in September, with regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM) looking to raise around €2.5 billion for the government.
The iniative is part of Italy’s plans to make
the Mediterranean country into one of the European leaders when
it comes to 5G deployment, with tests by major carriers already
The likes of Telecom Italia (TIM), which owns Sparkle,
Vodafone, Wind-Tre and Fastweb will all be expected to join the
auction when it launches in September.
An AGCOM statement released last week said new rules for the
auction would aim to bring new players into the market,
including companies offering purely infrastructure. This could
include the likes of Open Fiber, which is currently
constructing a new fibre wholesale network aimed at competing
Agcom said the country’s Ministry of Economic
Development will organise the tender, which will cover the
auction of frequencies in 694MHz to 790MHz; 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz;
and 26.5GHz to 27.5GHz bands. Two blocks of 80MHz and two
blocks of 20MHz will be made available in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz
bands, while five lots of 200MHz will be available in the
26.5GHz to 27.5GHz bands.
The announcement came as TIM presented its first field
applications based on 5G in a trial with Huawei and Fastweb.
The trial involved demonstrations of virtual reality and
augmented reality technologies and is one month ahead of
schedule, TIM said.
The demonstration of the first scenarios of live use
– just after the first 5G antennas in Bari and Matera
were switched on – marks a key point for the project,
which aims to reach 75% of the population in the two cities
already by the end this year, to reach full coverage by
The potential of the 5G network was shown during a press
conference in terms of transmission capacity, significant
decrease in latency and directionality of the signal on moving
terminals through the first VR applications.
"The new 5G network of Bari and Matera is one of the first
installations in Europe and in the world through which we can
offer innovative and excellent performance, bringing about new
scenarios in which it can be applied," states Saverio Orlando,
TIM Technology Manager.
"The new low latency and high speed mobile technology,
supported by the fibre optic network, allows us to create an
innovative ecosystem that involves all industrial and service
processes, with a particular focus on the development of new
services related to tourism and Industry 4.0, as well as public
safety and transport, thus creating digital value for the
cities involved and for the entire country."
The European Union set out plans for 5G deployment in 2016,
aiming for coverage in all urban areas across the bloc by 2025.
US firms have aimed to rollout some services by the end of
2018, with large-scale deployments due to start in 2019.
The UK has already auctioned some 5G spectrum bands, while
German is set to hold an auction in 2019, aiming to finalise
the conditions for the auction later this year.