Italy adds five more cities to program of 5G trials

Following the claim last week that Turin would be Italy’s first ‘5G city’, the country’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) has announced five further cities which have been selected for pre-commercial 5G trials.

These are Milan and Prato in the north, L’Aquila in the center, and Bari and Matera in the south. The plan sees Italy going well beyond the requirement set by the European Commission’s 5G Action Plan, which required member states to name at least one city for 5G trials by 2018. ”

We want to be in the leading group. Italy accepts the European challenge and raises the bar,” said the under-secretary for economic development, Antonello Giacomelli.

The government will make available 3.4 GHz and 3.8 GHz spectrum for the trials and interested bidders – operators, universities or industries – have until May 15 to submit their applications. The winning projects will be selected by July 14 and will start by the end of the year in a wide variety of urban settings.

In Turin, Telecom Italia will launch a 5G technology trial in 2018 with up to 3,000 users.

Giacomelli added: “We want the areas identified to be places for testing innovative services. The infrastructure is the enabling condition, but the real challenge is to nominate Italy to be a reference point for the creation of products and services that take advantage of 5G technology.”

Not everything is rosy in the Italian 5G landscape however. Giovanni Ferigo, CTO of Telecom Italia (TIM), says the security threats are his “personal nightmare”.
Speaking to Mobile Europe at Mobile World Congress, he said: “5G is absolutely not necessary today but it will be in the future”, for use cases like robotics.