Gruppo TIM, along with its Noovle subsidiary, has started creating the first ‘5G Cloud Network’ in Italy. The solution will lead to faster deployment of the 5G digital applications through the automation of industrial processes and the implementation of services in real time, thanks to EDGE Computing, based on specific requirements. The project will use TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google’s Cloud solutions and Ericsson’s 5G Core network and Automation technologies.
- TIM did not disclose any implementation details, e.g. containers (with or without kubernetes) or virtual machines, type of cloud service and configuration, APIs, etc.
- The 5G core network, as defined by three 3GPP specifications, utilizes cloud-aligned, service-based architecture (SBA) that spans across all 5G functions and interactions including authentication, security, session management and aggregation of traffic from end devices. The implementation method, e.g. containers, virtual machines/network functions, etc are not specified.
- ITU-T has no serious work underway for 5G Core network, even though they are supposed to be responsible for all 5G/IMT 2020 non-radio recommendations/standards.
- TIM also did not disclose availability date(s) for their 5G Core network, locations in Italy that can access it, or 5G endpoint devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc) compatible with it.
At the start of March 2020, TIM and Google announced a new partnership covering cloud and edge computing services, building on an MoU they signed back in November 2019. In line with the rapidly expanding cloud market, TIM said at the time that it would aim to generate €1 billion from cloud services by 2024.
In early 2021, TIM acquired 100% of cloud specialist Noovle, intending for the unit to ultimately operate TIM’s 17 Italian data centers. Since its launch, Milan based Noovle has been working on innovative technological solutions to improve services across various areas, such as the provision of virtual IT infrastructures, remote working, customer experience and Artificial Intelligence.
TIM says their 5G cloud solution offers businesses – e.g. those in the automotive and transportation sector – integrated innovative solutions capable of improving the efficiency of logistics and production processes, acting in collaboration with software developers. The ‘5G Cloud Network’ will be available close to companies’ premises, based on the customer’s specific requirements, in order to ensure the lowest latency possible. It also optimizes the network service implementation time and related costs.
TIM says their 5G Cloud Network is in full compliance with data protection and in line with the strictest sector standards (not disclosed how this is done and there are no sector standards for 5G data protection/security). Earlier this month, Italy created a national agency responsible for fighting cyber attacks, as it presses ahead with plans to create a unified cloud infrastructure to increase security for public administration data storage. According to Reuters, the new Italian cyber-security agency unifies under the prime minister’s authority many aspects of digital security which are currently dispersed among several ministers and state bodies.
Companies that intend to adopt 5G services and connectivity will be able to use the ultrabroadband radio network (RAN) in conjunction with the ‘5G Cloud Network’ without needing to build the physical infrastructure of the core network at their logistics or production sites.
1. Vodafone Italy, which competes with Telecom Italia (TIM), has acquired spectrum to enable the deployment of 5G technology for €2.4 billion during the 5G spectrum auction that fetched $7.6 billion for the Government.
The Italian Government will collect 1,250 million euros from all mobile operators during the current year, 50 million in 2019, 300 million in 2020, 150 million in 2021, and the remaining in 2022 from the 5G auction.
Though telecom operators will be releasing the spectrum auction money in the next five years, it will pose challenges to the telecom industry in Italy. Bloomberg reports that 5G spectrum auction in Italy was a record as compared with the auction in South Korea.
“Spectrum auctions should be designed to balance fiscal requirements with the need for investment to enable economic development. It is critical that European governments avoid artificial auction constructs which fail to strike a healthy balance for the industry,” Nick Read said in a statement.
Vodafone Italy, the second largest telecom operator, posted €1.231 billion revenue registering 6.5 percent drop in the first quarter ended 30 June 2018 against 0.7 percent increase in Q4 of previous fiscal.
Vodafone Italy and other operators are facing competition following the launch of a new entrant in late May. Vodafone Italy launched a new secondary brand to specifically address the needs of customers in the value segment of the market.
Vodafone Italy said the 5G spectrum will deliver network operating cost efficiency to meet the expected future growth in data traffic.
Vodafone Italy is buying 3700 MHz – 80 MHz for €1,685 million, 700 MHz – 2 x 10 MHz FDD for €683 million and 26 GHz – 200 MHz for €33 million.
Vodafone Italy will be using the 3700 MHz spectrum to enhance coverage, improve capacity, and for rapid development of 5G services. Vodafone Italy did not reveal the timing of its planned 5G launch in Italy.
Vodafone Italy will also utilize the 700 MHz spectrum, when it is available from 2022, to deploy 5G services, providing nationwide coverage at very high speed and very low latency for including IoT, virtual and augmented reality, connected vehicles and robotics. This indicates that Vodafone Italy will be playing in both the business and consumer markets of 5G to improve ARPU.
Vodafone Italy said it can also use the 26 GHz spectrum to deliver high capacity services in densely populated locations such as city centres, sports stadiums or industrial plants.
Vodafone said it is leading 5G trials promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development in Milan and its metropolitan area. Vodafone 5G network has already achieved coverage of 80 percent of Milan and targeting 80 percent 5G coverage in its metropolitan area by December 2018.
2. Telecom Italia (TIM) has obtained 5G frequencies for an 80MHz block of 3700 MHz for 1,694 million euros and a 200MHz block of 26 GHz for 33 million euros.
In addition to the two blocks of 700 MHz, TIM’s total investment in the 5G spectrum auction will be 2,407 million euros.
“The switch on of the antenna in Bari certifies TIM’s technological primacy in 5G space in Italy,” Amos Genish said.
Investment in 5G network is an important part of the TIM strategy for sprucing up revenue in Italy. TIM’s telecom business in Italy has posted 7.454 billion euros in revenue in the first half of 2018 against 7.494 billion euros in the same period 2017.
TIM 5G will be focusing on both consumer and business customers. Consumer business of TIM’s telecom business in Italy has reported 3.753 billion euros in revenue, while 2.333 billion euros came from business customers and 860 million euros from wholesale business in Italy.
TIM will use 3700 MHz and 26 GHz to leverage the testing already underway in Turin, Bari and Matera and in the Republic of San Marino.
TIM has started to implement services for the Smart City targeting public security, transport, environmental monitoring, healthcare, tourism and culture, in San Marino.
The 3700 MHz band, already used for the tests launched at the start of the year, is available immediately.
TIM will use 26 GHz millimetre wave band, which will be available from 2019, to conduct road test for the first 5G services. TIM will use the 700 MHz frequencies, available from 2022, to strengthen UBB coverage, including in indoor areas, with the implementation of 5G technology.
TIM said its 4G mobile broadband coverage reached over 98 percent of the population in Italy and fixed broadband reached 80 percent of homes via FTTC and FTTH technology.