Gigabit download on 4.5G mobile, says TIM after Milan trial

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Trial with added 5GHz unlicensed spectrum pushes speed to 1Gbps and TIM promises roll-out to seven cities

Italian operator TIM is claiming downlink speeds close to 1Gbps on its 4.5G network in Milan.

The company says that 1Gbps downlink will be commercially available starting in September in the hot spots in Milan and Turin and will then be extended to other main cities across Italy.

“We are proud to support the development of commercial gigabit LTE in Italy in conjunction with TIM and Asus,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and EMEA president of Qualcomm, one of the companies working on the demonstration.

The trial used an Asus phone fitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip, along with Ericsson equipment on TIM’s network.

TIM says it will also increase the upload speed in 1,117 towns and cities from a current 75Mbps to 130Mbps.

The company launched its 4.5G network in December 2016, and has now upgraded it, ensuring 700 Mbps download speeds in 11 cities including Milan, Turin, Naples, Rome, Palermo, Taormina and Giardini di Naxos.

It achieved the speed of 1Gbps using licensed assisted access (LAA), technology that aggregates LTE licensed frequencies with unlicensed 5GHz spectrum.

“Gigabit LTE is not simply about headline data download speeds, it’s about bringing real-life benefits to the everyday user, regardless of the device they are using,” said Salvatori. “Gigabit LTE will provide wide-area coverage and superior mobility and serve as the anchor to the 5G mobile experience.”

TIM says the 4.5G technology coexists with Wifi on the 5GHz band and efficiently covers hot spot locations – such as shops, stadiums, malls, public squares and parks – and will be progressively deployed using small cells – with low-power radio antennas that can optimise radio coverage in very crowded areas, minimising visual and environmental impacts.