TIM Brasil, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Motorola test 5G SA for power distribution in LatAm

TIM Brasil has been carrying out a 5G Standalone (SA) pilot in Sao Paulo since August 2nd. It’s in partnership with energy distribution company Enel, reports Telesintese. The 5G SA tests in an electric substation in the neighborhood of Vila Olímpia are being conducted in the 3.5 GHz band and use Ericsson AIR 6449, AIR3227, and AIR 6488 antennas. Qualcomm provided a 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) gen 2 CPE with Snapdragon X62 5G Modem, while Motorola provided Edge, Moto G 5G and Moto G100 smartphones.

Sensors installed by Enel in the substation allow remote control of the structure and identify in real time if there are faults or maintenance needs. According to the companies, this is the first pilot to use 5G in electrical distribution in Latin America.

Photo Credit:  Telesintese

As Leonardo Capdeville explained to Tele.Síntese , the 5G worked as a backhaul link for Qualcomm’s CPE, which radiated the WiFi signal through the power substation. Sensors installed by Enel in the substation allow remote control of the structure and identify in real time if there are failures or maintenance needs.

Another application tested is related to the field team. Enel technicians use smartphones connected directly to 5G. These feature augmented reality programs that allow instant access to substation data and detail how to perform maintenance just by pointing the camera at the equipment.

This was the first pilot to use 5G in electrical distribution in Latin America, according to the companies.

Currently, Enel uses systems that connect via 3G to its control centers. Such a connection is much slower, and results in response times in the seconds.

With 5G, observe Fernando Andrade, responsible for the Engineering and Construction area at the distributor, the response time is between 1 to 5 milliseconds, opening the way for a more intense use of the concept of “self healing” networks, that is, networks that establish routes for energy as problems in one of them are identified.


According to the executives, the project should evolve. Enel liked the result, noted gains in efficiency and speed in handling incidents. In the city of São Paulo there are 120 power substations that could be connected, but the executive goes further: “We started with the substation because it is a relatively controlled environment, but it is possible to spread the technology to the equipment throughout the network ”, he observed.

Andrade envisions the use of 5G for commanding drones, capturing and analyzing images. It even suggests that, in the future, garbage trucks bring cameras and sensors that analyze energy networks, freeing inspectors for other tasks.

Capdeville, from TIM, points out that the current test is based on a provisional license from Anatel, but that the antenna installed in Vila Olímpia must remain and be used to serve the 5G consumer in general as soon as the 3.5 GHz spectrum is released in the city ​​– the operator was one of the buyers of the track in the auction held by the regulatory agency at the beginning of the month .

The 5G network pilot is part of Enel’s Urban Futurability project, which will transform Vila Olímpia into a digital and sustainable neighborhood with an investment of R$125 million from the Research and Development program of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel).

TIM and Enel, both companies with Italian origins, already have a partnership for research and development of products and in different areas. Enel is one of the companies hired by TIM to supply energy from renewable sources. In this case, the built-in solar power plants distributor in Bahia serves the tele consumer units.

In addition, Enel X, the energy company’s innovation arm, has a contract with TIM to develop solutions for smart cities – such as smart grid applications.