Information current as of 28 February 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Italy?

5G services are currently in a pre-commercial experimental phase in Italy. The 5G experimentation process started in 2017 and currently involves five Italian cities. 5G tests are being carried out in the following territories: Area 1 – metropolitan area of Milan; Area 2 – Prato and L’Aquila; Area 3 – Bari and Matera.

The tender to assign lots of frequencies to be used in connection with 5G services has already been awarded in Italy. According to current plans, the goal is to achieve availability of 5G services in most of the Italian territory by 2022.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

The operators who won the tender and were assigned frequencies to launch 5G services in Italy are:

  • Telecom Italia S.p.A.
  • Vodafone Italia S.p.A.
  • Iliad S.p.A.
  • Wind Tre S.p.A.
  • Fastweb S.p.A.

The companies currently involved in the experimental phase launched by the Ministry of Economic development on March 2017 are:

  • Vodafone (Milan);
  • Wind-Tre and Open Fiber (Prato and L’Aquila);
  • Tim, Fastweb and Huawei (Bari and Matera).

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licenses?


What are the conditions?

The tender to assign lots of frequencies to be used in connection with 5G services has already been carried out in Italy. On 9 October 2018, the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) assigned rights to use frequencies in the following bands: 700 MHz FDD, 3700 MHz, and 26 GHz.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

According to the Italian government, 5G implementation is an important strategic decision. It places the country at the leading edge – in terms of the quantity and quality of the spectrum made available to the electronic communication operators, and the potential for developing innovative services for citizens, companies and public administration.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

AGCOM has drawn up the rules for the use of the frequencies available in the bands 694-790 MHz, 3600-3800 MHz and 26.5-27.5 GHz for terrestrial systems of electronic communications in order to favour the transition to 5G technology (Resolution 231/18/CONS).

The assigned frequencies were made available from 1 January 2019 for the 3.6 – 3.8 GHz and 26.5-27.5 Ghz bands while the 700 MHz frequency will be made available from 1 July 2022.

The usage rights will terminate on 31 December 2037; they may be renewed but cannot be assigned without the prior consent of the competent Ministry.

In addition, within 36 months from the availability of the frequencies, each 700 MHz assignee shall launch the commercial service in order to give at least the 80% of the national population access to the 5G service, including in indoor environments. They must ensure a download speed of no less than 30Mbps. The coverage objectives include all cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, including the main cities in all Italian provinces. A new assignee has 12 additional months in order to reach the same coverage objectives and launch of the service.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

In order to guarantee a broad territorial coverage of the 5G service, the tender rules provide for an obligation for the assignees of the frequencies to cooperate. In fact, the assignees of the 700 Mhz frequencies are jointly bound to reach coverage of 99.4% of the national population. This target must be reached within 54 months from the date on which the frequencies have been made available, and on the basis of agreements between the assignees themselves. Within 14 months of the assignment of the frequencies, in order to achieve that objectives, all assignees must jointly draw up a plan that includes the system for monitoring its implementation. The plan must be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development and to AGCOM and updated annually. Failure to comply with the provisions of the agreements implies the revocation of the rights of all assignees in the relevant areas. In the event of a revocation, no cost reimbursement will be made. The tender rules also identify extra-urban areas where each assignee must provide a roaming service for the benefit of all other assignees (through frequencies pooling) based on reciprocity principles, in order to guarantee a seamless service. These extra-urban areas represent the crucial national networks for road, rail, and maritime transport. The cooperation requested from all assignees extends to the sharing of information concerning the technical characteristics and the location of the installed infrastructure. Requests for this information can be submitted from one assignee to another on the basis of reciprocity or simply in specific cases.


Picture of Italo de Feo
Italo de Feo