TIM and Fastweb launch 5G trials in Italian cities

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TIM, Huawei and fixed line operator and MVNO Fastweb are set to launch pre-standard 5G trials in Italian cities next year.

The companies will deploy the connectivity in the 3.7GHz band in Bari and Matera in southern Italy.

The tests are set to begin from June 2018, aiming to provide 75 percent coverage in the areas by end of next year and full coverage by the start of 2020.

Coastal city Bari will use the connectivity to improve security, access control and logistics in its shipping port, while Matera will send 3D images of architectural sites and museums to visitors during its 2019 tenure as the European capital of culture.

In addition, the networks will support smart agriculture projects through monitoring and control of automated vehicles.

This week also saw Fastweb sign a separate agreement to design and test 5G in Rome’s Capitoline Hill area ahead of a target to host IoT applications by 2020.

Under the agreement, the Swisscom-owned telco will additionally launch Wi-Fi, offering 1GBps download and 200MBps upload speeds.

The field trial of the 5G technologies is expected to involve around 3,000 users and focus on intelligent mobility, sensors, tourism, video surveillance and industrial use cases. City authorities will support the project by providing data about civic infrastructure.

Fastweb is still in discussions with potential vendor partners.

The company's Director of External and Institutional Relations Sergio Scalpelli said: “We are ready to provide the most efficient solutions to the people of Rome and to set out the best scenarios for the testing of new solutions.”

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said the agreement expressed the city’s “commitment to facilitate investments in infrastructures and innovation in order to create a fertile ecosystem conducive to the establishment of new companies in the territory”.

Earlier this year, Italy's Ministry of Economic Development slated Milan, Prato and L’Aquila for 5G trials. TIM also plans to test the technology in San Marino.