TIM claims Italian first with 4.5G soft launch

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TIM has completed live field trials in Turin, Italy, of 4.5G technology, achieving download speeds of over 500Mbps on a single data connection on its LTE network in the city.

It will extend the capabilities to major Italian cities during the next two months,  with commercial services to go live by the end of the year, when compatible 4.5G devices hit the market.

TIM currently offers 300Mbps speeds on its LTE network in eight Italian cities: Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Naples, Prato, Verona and Palermo.

Ericsson provided the network and Qualcomm provided the chipsets for the tests, which were run in its Turin labs prior to being taken into its live network.

“These new performances were achieved by broadening the spectrum of all the frequencies available for a single data connection – combining LTE frequency bands through carrier aggregation – and increasing spectral efficiency, through evolutions in the antenna transmission systems and coding and modulation techniques,” the company said in a statement.

The Italian operator claimed it was the first in its country to run the rule over the LTE upgrade, and “introduce” 4.5G technology.

TIM and Ericsson launched a ‘5G for Italy’ project in June, with the aim of uniting industries, public sector organisations, universities, research centres, and small and medium enterprises to develop and test new services.

TIM said in August it will deploy virtual RAN (vRAN) in Italy this year, following the July launch of “intelligent” cloud RAN based on virtualised hardware from Huawei in Palermo.