TIM has launched a project to virtualise its radio access network across Italy, in a move described as key to its migration to 5G.
The operator will work with Ericsson on the project, starting in Turin, where TIM first deployed a virtual radio access network in a live environment.
TIM said that by moving the RAN onto a flexible cloud platform, it would be able to automate and optimise processes, deliver an improved customer experience and reduce costs. No timescale was given for the transformation project.
Both telcos are already working on self-organising network solutions, which they said have already delivered results particularly in voice over LTE.
Giovanni Ferigo, CTO, TIM, said: “The virtualisation and automation of the access network, of which TIM is a pioneer, starting from 4.5G represents a key evolutionary challenge in the smooth migration path towards 5G, which is much more than just a set of new network technologies.
"Digitalisation drives the need for flexibility and operational efficiency to enable expanded service models while maintaining performance to ensure the sustainability of future investments.
"RAN transformation will guarantee, also, security by design and openness, modularity and programmability that enable automation.”
TIM has been busy within the 5G space, joining a new network slicing project today (27 February), launching a "5G-ready" small cells network, and working with Huawei and Fastweb in testing 5G New Radio technology.