Italian network operator Fastweb plans to activate 5G in an initial four cities before the end of the year (it is the fifth mobile operator in Italy).
Separately, Fastweb will increase the top speed of its existing FTTH service to 2.5 Gbps in the coming months. The company already leads Italy’s fixed gigabit market with a 36.5 percent share of FTTH subscribers having download speeds of 1 Gbps speeds. It now intends to upgrade its proprietary network in 30 large cities so that it can hike top speeds from 1 Gbps to 2.5 Gbps at no additional cost in around 4 million homes, covering 15 percent of Italy’s population, starting in February 2021.
These two announcements follow the launch of Fastweb’s ‘UltraFWA’ service in partnership with Linkem to offer speeds of 1Mbps in 3 localities in the south of the country. Linkem said the 5G FWA service is now available in Modugno, Grottaglie and Avellino. Those are the first 3 of the 50 localities the network operator aims to connect by the end of this year, rising to 500 by the end of next year. part of a commitment to bridge the digital divide in “historically disadvantaged” areas of southern Italy.
Fastweb said it will continue to bridge the digital divide in small and medium-sized Italian towns with its new 5G FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) service. ‘UltraFWA’ will offer speeds of up to 1Gbps in a total of 50 localities by the end of this year, rising to 500 by the end of next year and around 2,000 by 2024 for a total coverage of 8 million homes in ‘grey’ areas and 4 million in ‘white’ areas.
The increased performance and coverage are part of Fastweb’s new multi-year commitment to citizens, institutions and companies called ‘NeXXt Generation 2025’. The plan to connect millions of families throughout the country is based on the three pillars of technological leadership, transparency and social responsibility, with the operator also confirming plans to activate its 5G service in an initial four cities on 27 December. Fastweb 5G will switch on in Milan, Bologna, Rome and Naples and then gradually extend to other cities to reach 90 percent of the population by 2025.
The company added that it will be the only operator to make 5G technology available to both new and existing customers at no additional cost and with no constraints whatsoever. Fastweb last year signed an ambitious decade-long network sharing deal with WindTre to jointly roll out 5G infrastructure on a national scale, having previously acquired a 200MHz frequency block in the 26 GHz band in Italy’s 5G spectrum auction in October 2018, swiftly followed by 40 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band from Tiscali.