Italy aims to raise €2.5 billion in 5G spectrum auction

The Italian government expects to raise up to €2.5 billion by tendering spectrum bands earmarked for use in 5G connectivity, according to reports.

The spectrum, which will be across the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz bands, will be made available across five cities looking to develop 5G services, according to secretary for communications Antonello Giacomelli.

Corriere Comunicazioni reported that Giacomelli expects to launch official trials in the cities “in the next few days”, ahead of an official tender process to be held next year.

“We’re working together with Agcom on the conditions of the tender,” he said. “The EU demands that by 2020 every country active 5G in a city, but Italy will go early. Early as next week the Mise will make available to interested operators as 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum in five cities to develop 5G services.”

Giacomelli also discussed how the spectrum was likely to be priced, recognising that operators will be reluctant to spend huge sums on additional spectrum.

"It 'clear that a price too much would be a drag. But it should be equally clear that the State cannot fail to exploit a public good. The aim is therefore to find a balance between the value of the resource and of private investment."

He claimed Italy will be the “Champions League” of 5G. His words came just days after TIM unveiled plans to convert Turin into Italy’s first 5G city. The incumbent said it plans to deploy small cells across the city later this year, ahead of a 5G trial in 2018.