Italian telco TIM and Swedish vendor Ericsson have installed a 5G demo area at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport.

The new demo area will allow arriving and connecting travellers to experience 5G technology, TIM said.

The 5G demo area will be located at the Terminal T3 arrivals’ baggage claim, where travelers will be able to experience live, virtual guided tour services. In particular, travelers will be taken on an immersive bilingual tour of Piazza Navona using virtual reality headsets.

TIM and Ericsson also said that the entire airport will be equipped with 5G coverage in a gradual process. For this initial 5G demo, TIM and Ericsson switched on the first 5G antenna at the airport, using frequencies previously awarded to TIM by the Ministry for Economic Development.

“By choosing Fiumicino Airport to demonstrate the 5G potential, TIM strengthens its leading role in the Italian mobile communications market and in the field of innovation,” said Francesco D’Angelo, head of sales at TIM. “These services and applications will be soon available to all customers throughout the country. They will be a basis for improving people’s lives, company production processes and efficiency in public administration. 5G will create an environment in which everything is smarter and more connected, be it public security, mobility, environmental monitoring, healthcare, tourism, culture, media, education and entertainment.”

“We’re pleased to host TIM’s initiative here at Fiumicino Airport, which as of today is the first Italian airport with the new 5G connection,” said Emiliano Sorrenti, information and communications technology director at Aeroporti di Roma.

Raimondo Anello, head of innovation at TIM Customer Unit within Ericsson, said that the project “strengthens the long-standing collaboration between Ericsson and TIM that saw the two companies launch significant initiatives in Italy, beginning with 5G for Italy to new use cases enabled by 5G technology, which is intended to become a national infrastructure of critical importance. It will set off a new phase of digital transformation and radically change the world we live in. Making virtual reality available at Fiumicino Airport is a prime example in the consumer sphere of how greater connectivity combined with low latency can open the door to innovative and interactive new services.”

In November last year, TIM and Samsung Electronics signed a strategic collaboration agreement for the joint launch of TIM’s 5G services in Italy. The two companies said they intend to use every technical and commercial tool available to them to commercialize 5G during 2019.

Under the terms of that agreement, Samsung is providing all the technical support needed during the product development and certification phase and will develop, together with TIM, a communication plan for the joint launch of the 5G service.

The collaboration will also include the development of specific initiatives on internet of things (IoT) services, with particular focus on smart home solutions.

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