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Vodafone Italia has officially inaugurated its project to test 5G technologies via the 3.6-3.8 GHz band in the city of Milan. At an event held in the Palazzo Marino city hall and attended by mayor Giuseppe Sala and Italy’s undersecretary for economic development in charge of telecommunications Antonello Giacomelli, the company’s CEO Aldo Bisio said Vodafone will be working with a total of 28 partners on the EUR 90 million trial to test the full potential of 5G, according Telecompaper. The network will cover 80 percent of the city and surrounding metropolitan areas by the end of next year and 100 percent by 2019.
 
"The 5G trial is a great accelerator for Milan, which is set to become the European capital of 5G,” said Bisio, adding that over 40 projects will be implemented covering sectors such as health, security, energy, transport, education and entertainment. Partners include Milan Polytechnic university, Nokia, Qualcomm, Huawei, IBM, FCA, Esselunga, Ferrovie Italiane, Pirelli, Siemens, the Italian Red Cross and local transport authorities.
 
Earlier this year Italy's Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) gave the go-ahead for Vodafone to conduct pre-commercial trials of 5G networks in Milan, with Open Fiber and Wind Tre tasked with carrying out a pilot in Prato and L’Aquila, while Telecom Italia, Fastweb and Huawei will focus on Bari and Matera in the south. Vodafone has already reached download speeds of 2.7Gbps and a latency of just over a millisecond in the first live end-to-end 5G data connection in Italy conducted using Huawei’s Massive MIMO technology.
 
The Italian government is expecting to raise at least EUR 2.5 billion over the next five years from the so-called 5G tenders for spectrum in the 700 MHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26.5-27.5 GHz bands, according to recent reports.