Italian network operator TIM (Telecom Italia) marks a major step forward on the road to 5G as it reaches up to 1Gbit/s download speed on a mobile network.
New Network Capability
Ericsson, Qualcomm and Asus are behind the development of TIM's network capability, with the breakthrough coming from the incorporation of Licensed Assisted Access (LAA). LAA enables the integration of public spectrum with the LTE network. This transmission technology also aggregates multiple LTE channels using the advanced 4x4 MIMO and high order modulation with 356QAM DL already implemented by TIM in the network
4.5G technology: how it works
This so-called 4.5G technology, which coexists with WiFi on the 5GHz band, adds extra capacity where it is most needed, for example, in hot spot locations such as shops, stadiums, malls, public squares, parks and so on. As the hotspots change and develop TIM intends to continue building out, using small cells that operate at low power and can optimise radio coverage in very crowded areas. This minimises visual and environmental impacts (and hopefully macro network costs).
Benefits of aggregation for users and operators: Users get faster downloads, improving subjective user experience across diverse applications, especially data-heavy operations. Operators benefit from improved capacity in the network. It is expected that many other mobile network operators in Europe and beyond will use this sort of aggregation (with or without the addition of LAA) as they evolve their LTE networks, in advance of and then in parallel to 5G new radio (5G NR).
TIM Launches of 4.5G:
11 Italian cities, including Milan, Turin, Naples, Rome, Palermo, Taormina and Giardini di Naxos after ensuring its upgraded network could support 700 Mbit/s download speeds.
A 1 Gbps downlink will be commercially available in September in hotspots in Milan and Turin, and subsequently available in other cities.