Open Fiber and Wind Tre Testing
In Italy, the Ministry of Economic Development identified and made available, with a public tender, the portion of the spectrum 3.6-3.8 GHz for the pre-market testing of 5G.
The tender responds to the requirements of the European Commission, to make sure that each Member State has at least one main "5G-enabled" city by the end of 2020 and that all urban areas and primary land transport routes have uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025.
Open Fiber and Wind Tre have joined their skills, infrastructure and investment capabilities, presenting a 5G city project as a response to the public tender. In this project, innovative services will be supplied, with a strong impact in terms of social and economic utility. On 22 September 2017, the Ministry of Economic Development granted Open Fiber and Wind Tre temporary authorization for pre-market 5G testing in the 3.6-3.8 GHz portion of the spectrum in the area 2 – Prato and L’Aquila, through rights of use of frequencies from 3.7 GHz to 3.8 GHz. The rights of use are usable exclusively with 5G technological solutions from the date of assignment until 30 June 2020.
Prato and L'Aquila, the "5G cities"
The two metropolitan areas, even with their different, specific features, have characteristics of repeatability and are well-suited for the testing of the so-called “5G city” model, where technology focuses on the citizen and enables innovative services to improve quality of life and work. Areas include telemedicine, evolved mobility, smart grid solutions, the evolution of the manufacturing industry and augmented reality.
The trial will last two and a half years and will see Open Fiber and Wind Tre implement technological network solutions, testing two different network models, respectively: Open Fiber will test the neutral host model in the city of Prato and Wind Tre will test the vertically integrated operator model in the city of L’Aquila.
In the neutral hostmodel (owner of the infrastructure) proposed by Open Fiber, it is the Operator that develops and manages the infrastructure by offering “slices” of network capacity to different 5G service providers, which could be Operators of TLC retail, OTT, Industries or local public administration itself, in order to offer services to the final user.
With a synergistic effort from neutral hosts, local public administration and local companies, it is possible, on one hand, to create a telecommunication network by maximising the reuse of existing infrastructure, reducing its costs, and on the other, to provide services to local companies and socially useful services to people, fostering the growth of new business models.
The vertically integrated operatormodel,proposed by Wind Tre, provides end-to-end service to the final user. It will play a key role in the development of 5G networks, especially in cases whereradio and mobility coverage is a determining factor.
For the testing, it will be important to verify the successful coexistence of 5G technology with the existing 4G network, the portability of services currently usable on the LTE network and improvements that can be made.
In the cities of Prato and L’Aquila, within the areas made available by the Ministry of Economic Development for 5G testing, the most suitable sites for offering new-generation services have been selected. They are located both in historical centres, where most Public Administration headquarters are located, and in some outside areas, important because they host industrial complexes or universities. In this choice, particular importance was given to the possibility of interconnecting the different sites with optical fiber, to maximise network performance.