Telecom Italia to be first Open RAN network operator in Italy

Telecom Italia (TIM) is among the first operators in Europe and the only one in Italy to launch the Open RAN deployment program to innovate 4G and 5G radio access networks.

The initiative is covered by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last February with the main European operators to promote Open RAN technology with the aim of speeding up the implementation of new generation mobile networks, in particular 5G, Cloud and Edge Computing.

TIM said it signed up to the MoU to commit to the development of innovative mobile network systems that use open virtualized architecture to facilitate increasingly agile, flexible, secure and functional 5G services.

The first city in Italy to adopt this open network model is Faenza.  Through collaboration with JMA Wireless – a leader in mobile coverage and the development of Open RAN software – TIM will use a solution that decouples or disaggregates the components (hardware and software) of the radio access network.

The radio node on the 4G network has been built by combining JMA’s software baseband with the radio units provided by Microelectronics Technology (MTI). Going forward, this venture will also extend to 5G solutions.

The deployment of Open RAN solutions in an open environment, in line with the objectives of TIM’s 2021-2023 ‘Beyond Connectivity’ plan, will unite the potential of the cloud and Artificial Intelligence with the evolution of the mobile network. Moreover, it will enable operators to further strengthen security standards, improve network performances and optimize costs in order to provide ever more advanced digital services such as those linked to the new solutions for Industry 4.0, the smart city and autonomous driving.

TIM is a member of the European Open RAN alliance launched earlier this year by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone to work together on developing and implementing open RANs for mobile.  TIM said that the initiative will provide strong impetus to the introduction of the broadband mobile network’s new functionalities, in particular the 5G ones, promoting an increasingly widespread deployment and improving its management.

That consortium may be in competition with the 5G Open RAN Ecosystem, which includes the following companies: Dell Technologies Japan, Fujitsu, Intel, Mavenir, NEC, NTT Data, Nvidia, Qualcomm Technologies, Red Hat, VMware, Wind River and Xilinx.

Of course there is also the O-RAN Alliance and the TIP Open RAN project group.  Yet no standards body (like ITU, ETSI, IEEE, etc) is involved and neither is 3GPP which is the main spec writing body for cellular networks.

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References:

https://www.gruppotim.it/en/press-archive/corporate/2021/CS-TIM-ORAN-Faenza-26-aprile2021-EN.html

Analysis: Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, DT commit to Open RAN

Another Open RAN Consortium: 5G Open RAN Ecosystem led by NTT Docomo

https://www.gruppotim.it/en/press-archive/corporate/2021/PR-TIM-ORAN-en.html

 

Telecom Italia to deploy “5G” in 6 More Italian Cities by 2019 year-end

Telecom Italia (TIM) has already deployed pre-standard “5G” in Rome and Turin and recently added Naples.  TIM will further extend 5G service to another six Italian cities, including Milan, Bologna, Verona, Florence, Matera, and Bari.   That will also include 30 tourist destinations, 50 industrial districts, and 30 specific projects for big businesses, with speeds of up to 2G b/sec.

TIM is in partnership with Samsung, Xiaomi and Oppo to enable an immediate use of the new 5G network. TIM will also offer the 5G roaming services in six countries, starting within July in Austria, Great Britain and Switzerland and moving on to Spain, Germany and the UAE.

Telecom Italia  plans to cover 120 Italian cities within two years, or 22% of the population, it said in a statement.  The largest Italian telco is also negotiating with rival Vodafone to share 5G infrastructure to deliver services at a lower cost across wider areas of the country.

TIM will offer tiered data-download packages to consumers and business clients, rather than unlimited data plans, according to details of its offers outlined on Friday July 5th.  Consumers, as well as business customers, can visit the company website at www.tim.it to buy a handset of their choice with selective subscription plans.

FILE PHOTO: Telecom Italia new logo is seen at the headquarter in Rozzano neighborhood of Milan.

Telecom Italia’s new logo.  Photo courtesy of Reuters

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In 2017, Turin became the first Italian city with a 5G mobile network after the municipality signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the company, which announced at that time that it would install more than 100 small cells in the main areas of the city. It had proclaimed that the project would start its metropolitan trial in 2018, with the aim of covering the whole city by 2020.

Later that year, another 5G  MoU was signed by the company with San Marino. The republic, which has a population of 33,000 and an area of 61.2 square kilometres, started working with TIM to update its mobile sites with 4G+ (LTE Advanced Pro) and introduce features such as MIMO 4×4, carrier aggregation, superior modulation, and cloud architecture.

TIM was the first operator to activate a 5G millimetre-wave antenna in Italy, the first to offer complete 5G coverage for the Republic of San Marino and the first in Italy to demonstrate a car being driven remotely through 5G, together with Ericsson – with whom the current creation of the commercial network has begun – and the Municipality of Turin. As part of the Bari-Matera experiment undertaken in agreement with the MiSE, around 70 5G use cases have been defined and many of these have already been implemented or are being finalised. Thanks to TIM 5G, this year’s Giro d’Italia fans could follow the Riccione–San Marino stage in real time with 360° cameras and enjoy a genuinely immersive entertainment experience.

References:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tim-5g/tim-to-extend-5g-services-to-six-more-italian-cities-by-year-end-idUSKCN1U01SY

https://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/tim-launches-5g-services/d/d-id/752588

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The Long Rollout for 5G (from June 29th Wall Street Journal):

Some analysts and industry insiders think even a decade isn’t long enough, warning that a lack of cash and local cooperation could slow 5G rollout or even stall it completely outside the richest, densest cities.