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The Net

About LTE and 5G

The ultrabroadband mobile network LTE- Long Term Evolution today reaches 99% of Italians.  LTE/4G  represents the fourth generation (4G) mobile phone systems and it is the latest evolution of 3G/HSPA standard.

4G network allows data transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s in download and 50 Mbit/s in upload. The upload speed is 8 times faster than that of the High Speed Protocol Access network (5.6 Mbit/s) and more than double in download (HSPA: 42.2 Mbit/s). 

In December 2017 we launched the 4.5G technology.  Today it is in 12 main municipalities among which Milan and  Turin. With 4.5G our customers are able to reach browsing speeds of up to 700 Mbps in downlink, with a particularly fluid and stable browsing experience. Downloading of films in high definition will take just a few minutes, allowing customers to enjoy full HD and 4K video content on the move.

In 2019 we made  5G commercial services available in 9 cities, 30 tourist destinations and 50 industrial districts, with speeds of up to 2 gigabits a second. 5G performance: faster download speed (at least 10 times higher than 4G), lower latency (10 times lower than 4G), a higher number of devices handled (up to 10 times) and significant use of the Internet of Things, connecting up to one million devices and sensors per km2 simultaneously, with extremely high quality and reliable service.

In January 2020 5G speed on our network exceeded 2 Gbps using, for the first time, the 26GHz bandwidth; on our national territory we are using the 3,7 GHz bandwidth. This record result opens doors to future developments, showcasing the potential of this technology also with respect to our ample portfolio of 5G frequencies having complimentary characteristics.

In November 2019, we defined an investment plan supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) via a 6Y EUR 350m loan. The financed project concerns both the implementation of 5G and the strengthening of the existing mobile network with 4G/LTE (Long-Term Evolution). 

2020-2022 Strategic Plan target: national 5G population coverage by 2025/26.

The partnership with Vodafone

On July 26, 2019 we and Vodafone have signed agreements to share the active component of the 5G network. The agreements will enable more efficient implementation of 5G in Italy, with wider geographical coverage.

The 5G frequencies

In October 2018 we concluded our participation in the Ministry of Economic Development’s auction for 5G frequencies - which called for an overall investment of 2.4 billion euros-, with successful bids for an 80MHz block of 3700 MHz and a 200MHz block of 26 GHz. 

Drones flying over Turin

The development of 5G network in Turin

From the agreement signed with the Municipality in March 2017, to the first commercial services for families and companies  in 2019, these are the milestones of the 5G development in Turin.

  • In 2017 over 100 smart cells have been installed in the main streets and squares with the aim of covering the entire city by 2020. 
  • For two days in October 2018, the first 5G live demos  services aimed at the general public were showed: cars, 4.0 industry, digital tourism, smart city and drones and the first remote controlled standard car.
  • Last November the first prototype 5G smartphone has been connected to our network.

The Republic of San Marino: the first 5G State in Europe and one of the first in the world 

From December 2018 it is the first State to have a 5G mobile network, thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by us and the Government of the Republic of San Marino.

In July 2017 the project started the operational phase. In May 2018, live demos of the first 5G services, that will soon be available in the territory of San Marino, were shown. Among them:  

  • Smart City services, with Smart Parking and Gas & Water Metering applications, built by Olivetti, to bring economic advantages and facilities to the people of San Marino and local companies, as well as solutions to monitor air quality, using IoT sensors placed on urban buses, or Smart Agriculture systems based on the principles of the sharing economy;
  • Public Security services which, thanks to a system of cameras constantly connected to police stations, will guarantee video surveillance during public events.

In September 2018 the first 5G 3GPP standard antenna was switched on, followed by a second one in October.

Drones over Genoa

Genoa and the “Digital Lab 5G” 

Genoa as well became one of Italian cities to experiment the new 5G network. Since the end of 2018, the city hosts Italy's first "Digital Lab 5G", ready for testing the new 5G technology. All this thanks to a memorandum of understanding which was signed by TIM, Ericsson, the Municipality of Genoa, the Region of Liguria and Liguria Digitale.  Since november 2019, 5G services are available. 


Just as last year, the 2020 Festival offered us the opportunity to show 5G demos, underlining the potential of this technology which enables new services at very high speed, very low latency and maximum security. The new network changes the management of large amounts of data: for example, you can download 30GBytes with all songs that make up the history of 70 years of the Festival in a record time of 120".  

Further ways towards 5G: Bari and Matera

In September 2017, the project "Bari Matera 5G" by TIM, Fastweb and Huawei for the development of the new mobile networks in these two cities entered into the operative stage as the Ministry of Economic Development has awarded the the 5G testing on 3,6 – 3,8 GHz spectrum frequencies, as defined in the call for tenders. The three companies submitted a joint plan as lead partners in coordination with 52 international, national and local bodies.

In May 2018, the first concrete applications of 5G in the tourism sector and Industry 4.0 were shown.

In particular,in Materia, was presented a Virtual Reality solution which allows visitors, wearing a visor, to move in the dedicated areas, approach the walls and touch objects in a totally innovative and immersive experience; in this virtual world, the visitor can meet other people who are in different geographical locations, and interact with them as well as follow the directions given by a real guide.

In Bari, was shown the Augmented Reality solution for the maintenance of ship engines. Thanks to the use of a Smart Helmet and the high-level performance of the high speed and low latency network, remote assistance can be provided to the workers involved in the assembly and disassembly of a ship's engine, through assistance and reception of three-dimensional indications overlapping the image of the motor.

In September 2018, one year after the beginning of the Project, the first 5G "standard" antenna was switched on, in Bari.

Fiber coverage today reaches about 81% of the population.

At the end of 2019, our UBB retail+wholesale customers were 7 million, connected on a FTTx  network (optical fiber network which arrives to street-side cabinets or directly to the customers home) and, sometimes, also through FWA - Fixed Wireless Access technology. In this case the Wi-Fi of the customer’s home router connects, in wireless, to the nearest antenna of TIM’s mobile network which, in turn, is connected to the optic fiber network.

The variety of FTTx accesses depends on which segment of the network is connected in fiber.  FTTH (Fiber To The Home):  this technology brings optical fiber directly into the appartments - through the so called "verticals" - and is one of the methods we use together with FTTCab (Fiber To The Cabinet), currently the most used, which brings the fiber to the streetside cabinets.  

A FTTH network allows for connections of up to 1,000 megabits per second.  A FTTC network, thanks to e-vdsl technology (Enhanced Very High-speed Digital Subscriber Line), can reach speeds of 200 megabits per second and, with further technological developments, can reach 300 megabits per second.  With this technological upgrade on their FTTC network the maximum connection speed is thus doubled: from 100 to 200 megabits in download and 20 in upload. The operation can be requested for free by clients having a contract of up to 100 megabits and whose telephone line is deployed on a street cabinet already predisposed for e-vdsl technology. 

Fibre network significantly improves the browsing experience and offers new services. From home, for example, you can enjoy HD video, high quality, multiplayer online gaming and multimedia content simultaneously available on smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Moreover, fibre network also brings applications such as telepresence, cloud computing services for businesses and is a step towards the smart city model for local administrations, with systems for security and monitoring the territory, infomobility and sensor networks for environmental tele-monitoring.

2020-2022 Strategic Plan target envisages the evolution of FTTC coverage, currently at 81%, into FTTH for 40% of the population by 2023.

The dialogue with Open Fiber

On February 2019 we started discussions with Open Fiber to explore all possible options about  asingle network. Converge of the two networks would carry advantages for all stakeholders: the companies involved, the market, shareholders and the country as a whole.

One of the strategic iniziatives of 2020-2022 Plan is reserving  KKR Infrastructure fund  a period of exclusivity as financial partner for the deployment of the fibre network in Italy following the presentation of a non-binding offer to acquire approx. 40% of TIM's fibre/copper secondary network and in view of the advocated integration with Open Fiber.

The agreement with Infratel

This is another way to speed up the development of ultrabroadband: a public company, Infratel (the in-house company of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development) and a private one, TIM, together to bring new generation services in about 600 municipalities spread over 8 regions, that are 'market failure' areas.

The partnership will result in a plan of activities for the regions and municipalities involved. TIM will get hold of a significant amount of dark-fibre infrastructure built by Infratel and carry out a road map of activation, once the fibre optics have been provided by Infratel, in order to provide ultrabroadband services using FTTC and FTTH technology. This will benefit more than 1 million people and businesses in the areas in question.       

The activation plan has already begun in some regions and will be completed by 2020 /2021.  

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