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Telecom Italia to roll out “4.5G” in 11 cities

Telecom Italia boosts fiber, mobile speeds

Telecom Italia is on the verge of turning up mobile network speeds of up to 700 Mbps — or what the carrier is calling “4.5G.” The carrier said that as of July, customers will be able to achieve those speeds in 11 cities, including Rome, Turin, Naples, Milan and Palermo.

TIM tested “4.5G” technology last year with Ericsson equipment and at the time, achieved speeds of around 500 Mbps.

Telecom Italia is also rolling out fiber-to-the-home speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in 70 Italian municipalities, and offering customers a pricing plan that takes advantage of the new speeds on both networks. TIM’s “Fiber and Mobile” plan lets customers pick a wired connection speed between 100 and 1,000 Mbps with an option for 1 gig of mobile data at the “4.5G” network speeds at 19.90 Euros per four weeks, for one year and about 35 Euros for three years after that.

TIM said that it is already enabling upload speeds up to 75 Mbps for users with Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium devices.

TIM’s three-year plan for network investment between 2017 to 2019 calls for 11 billion Euros worth of investment in Italy, including 5 billion Euros “dedicated to network innovation.” The plan for network upgrades has not entirely been without controversy; Reuters reported earlier this month that Telecom Italia plans to proceed with ultra-fast broadband deployment in rural areas despite objections from the government after TIM reportedly told government officials it didn’t plan to invest in network extensions into remote areas, participated in the Italian government’s bidding process for subsidies to cover such areas and then withdrew, saying that it was going to move forward with its own rural network build-out after all.

Regulators have also been eyeing Telecom Italia’s ownership. Vivendi built a 24% stake in the carrier as of last year and has been taking control of the company, with Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine taking over as Telecom Italia executive chairman in early June. Although the European Union gave the power shift to Vivendy conditional approval, Italian regulatory agency AgCom ruled that Vivendi had to give up its stake in one company or the other. The Financial Times recently reported that Telecom Italia has filed suit over that ruling. 

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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