In 2018 TIM committed around 1,300 people to working on technological innovation and engineering activities, for an overall investment of 1,165 million euros, equivalent to around 8% of its domestic revenues.
Here at TIM, research and innovation, both technological and business-based, represent the central element to respond to the change in the technological, market and competitive context.
Innovation at TIM involves various internal and external stakeholders of the company, such as:
- traditional and digital partners, for the joint go2market of digital services;
- research centres and universities, for cooperation and joint projects. In 2018, 18 research contracts came into effect, for a total value of 840,000 euros.
- Standardisation Bodies and Associations: TIM is still very active within the main Standardisation Bodies (ETSI, ITU, CENELEC and 3GPP among others) and Associations (GSMA and NGMN to name the major ones), with 27 memberships in 2018, for a cost of 900,000 euros.
Our research and testing activities take place in the TIM Open Labs in Turin and are focused around these topics:
- IoT, Internet of Things
- Smart Services
- Big Data
- Artificial Intelligence
- Digital Services
- Network Virtualization
In 2018, more than 180 companies and customers visited the Lab, and among them, around fifty construction companies agreed a partnership with TIM allowing them to use the Lab’s facilities free of charge.
TIM has always been active in innovative and research initiatives funded by the European Commission and by national public administrations. This has enabled it to obtain funding of nearly 14 million euros over the 2016-2018 period and to take part in projects with a high innovation content.
The patenting areas relate to the whole ICT sector, with areas of excellence in the mobile sector, where TIM is one of the six leading Telcos worldwide.
Specifically, TIM’s portfolio of patents included 3,285 patents held by TIM at 31 December 2018, of which 2,791 granted in 41 countries around the world and 494 published in 13 patent offices, relative to some 601 inventions.
In particular, much work was done on the Smart Services front with a view to promoting the Smart City model according to the concept that improving the quality of life involves the development of innovative digital services for customers.
But to promote innovation, in addition to relying on the work of our laboratories and research centres, we are increasingly moving towards “Open Innovation” from the perspective of maximizing internal contributions and integrating them with external ones.
Agreements with universities of excellence (Politecnico di Torino (Polytechnic University of Turin), Università di Torino (University of Torino), Università di Catania (University of Catania), Politecnico di Bari (Polytechnic University of Bari), Università di Bari (University of Bari), Università di Salento (University of Salento), Università di Basilicata (University of Basilicata), SSSA di Pisa (SASAS of Pisa), partnerships with tech companies (Ericsson, Huawei and other internationally renowned companies), and relations with the world of start-ups through TIM #Wcap, are all geared towards this.
In 2018, 18 research contracts came into effect, for a total value of 840,000 euros.
Also in the same year, TIM WCAP, the programme dedicated to innovation through the selection of innovative digital solutions developed by start-ups and SMEs, launched a Call for Startups and two Calls for Partners. In both cases the scouting aimed to identify products and services that could be integrated into TIM's offers and technologies.
Moreover, equity investments through TIM Ventures also focus on the world of start-ups.
In October 2018, the tender of the Ministry of Economic Development for the award of user rights to 694–790 MHz, 3600–3800 MHz, and 26.5–27.5 GHz band frequencies for 5G mobile telecommunications services was completed, with an overall undertaking for TIM of 2,399 million euros.
In March 2018 TIM, together with Fastweb and Huawei, signed a memorandum of understanding with the municipalities of Bari and Matera: the cities will have full 5G coverage by 2019, with 10 application areas launched and over 70 use scenarios. In 2021, experimental service provision is foreseen for 1% of the population.
The investment is for over 60 million euros over 4 years, and involves 52 partners (7 universities and research centres, 11 public administration bodies, 22 companies based in Apulia and Basilicata, 12 leading companies in the sector and start-ups).
Two important projects were carried out in 2018, Torino 5G project, based on the strategic agreement between TIM, Ericsson and the Municipality of Turin and other industrial partners, and the the “San Marino 5G” project.
TIM Brasil is also very active on the innovation front, with more than 180 projects completed in 2018. In 2018 more than 4 million reais were invested, including the new lab premises; based on the 2019-2021 plan, further investments of 12 million reais have been allocated.