TIM becomes first European operator to break 2Gbps 5G barrier

Italian operator takes advantage of acquired spectrum to break 5G network speed barrier using technology from Ericsson and Qualcomm

Italian telco TIM has taken on 5G enabling technology from Ericsson to successfully complete what is said to be Europe’s first connection beyond the 2Gbps speed barrier on a 5G live commercial network.

The speed milestone was achieved using an Askey CPE RTL0200 powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem-RF system and was completed on a 26GHz millimetre-wave frequency that was acquired by TIM as part of the Italian government’s 5G bid auction.

TIM won 5G frequencies submitted by the Italian ministry of economic development’s auction with a €2.4bn investment, aimed at acquiring all three available frequencies (3.7GHz, 26GHz and 700MHz). The 3.7GHz spectrum, where TIM has 80MHz in total, had already allowed the company to develop its 5G coverage in 2019.

The latest bid win saw a further 200MHz available thanks to Club Use, for a total amount of 400MHz. Club Use offers the exclusive possibility for 5G millimetre-wave spectrum assignees to use the full 1GHz band if not used by similar parties.

TIM’s goal is to offer 5G capability to 120 cities, 200 holiday destinations and 245 industrial districts by 2021, in addition to 200 large enterprises’ specific projects. The 2Gbps landmark comes hard on the heels of TIM and Ericsson making the first 5G connection in Italy and the first 5G video call in Europe in December 2019.

Going forward, TIM said it is confident that performance will improve significantly throughout 2020 because the network will be able to use up to 800MHz and afterwards up to 1000MHz, moving the world closer to new Industry 4.0 scenarios with what it calls exceptionally fast services, extremely low latency and high levels of security and reliability.

TIM has been a pioneer of millimetre-wave spectrum innovation and with this new European 5G record, the company confirms its technological leadership,” said Michele Gamberini, the company’s chief technology and information officer. “Thanks to our innovation and cutting-edge network infrastructure, we are enabling the entire country’s digital transformation.

“This milestone paves the way for the development of new 5G solutions to grant fixed ultra broadband to families, companies and public authorities that are not yet covered. This also includes coverage dedicated to the development of robotics and automation of digital services in the smart manufacturing sector.” 

Emanuele Iannetti, country manager at Ericsson Italy, added: “5G will be the main innovation platform of the next decade and it will allow Italy to be increasingly competitive and attractive on the global stage. We are extremely pleased that TIM has chosen Ericsson’s 5G technology to achieve this important milestone, placing our country at the forefront of 5G commercial implementation.” 

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