Nokia, TIM expect nationwide 5G in San Marino by year-end

Building on groundwork that began being put into place last year, San Marino, a 24-square-mile micro-state surrounded by Italy, is claiming to be the first “5G state” in Europe. Working with operator TIM and infrastructure vendor Nokia, the country’s first 3GPP Release 15-compliant network site has been activated, according to a Sept. 4 announcement.

Last year, the operator began deploying 4×4 MIMO, multi-channel carrier aggregation, advanced modulation and a cloud based architecture. That came in tandem with a countrywide fiber-fed small cell deployment.

Now, according to TIM, standards-based massive MIMO equipment from Nokia has been installed in Faetano. Right now the network is using the 3.5 GHz band. TIM is currently testing 26 GHz transmission at a facility in Turin, and plans to work with Nokia to activate the millimeter wave frequencies in San Marino starting later this month. TIM described San Marino as “an outdoor laboratory” to explore how 5G can be leveraged for Industry 4.0, public safety, smart city and digital tourism services.

TIM’s Chief Technology Officer Elisabette Romano said the network launch “is the peak of a virtuous cycle of innovation launched by TIM a few years ago, working with the standardization bodies and contributing since the beginning to the ITU R Vision recommendation, which defined the founding concepts of 5G, subsequently guiding work on the technical specifications for 3GPP [Release 15] and later.”

In May TIM worked with Qualcomm, using the chipmaker’s X50 modem, to test millimeter wave services. At the time, San Marino’s Secretary of State for Industry Andrea Zafferani said 5G “will bring economic and social benefits to the whole community…and will put the Republic of San Marino in a unique position among European states in terms of both technological innovation and the efficiency and quality of services offered to tourists and citizens.”


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