Giovanni Ferigo, head of technology at TIM, said the Italian operator confirmed its position as a leader in ultra mobile broadband networks after achieving download speeds of 500 Mbps on a live LTE network in Turin.
The operator claimed to be the first in Italy, and one of the first globally, to introduce 4.5G technology following the field test conducted in conjunction with Ericsson and Qualcomm. TIM explained that the 500 Mbps data rates were realised on a single data connection and that the trial is an important step on the road to 5G.
“Our research and development capacities have allowed us to confirm our leadership in the innovation of mobile ultra broadband networks,” Ferigo commented.
In addition to paving the way towards 5G, the 4.5G trial “allows us to offer the best performances and to increase network capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile ultra broadband linked to the explosion in video content, including HD and 4K, and of social networking” among other new digital services, he added.
Ericsson provided technology based on its radio system, while Qualcomm’s involvement covered the provision of test mobile devices running its Snapdragon X16 modem, TIM explained in a statement.
The operator stated that it began trialling 4.5G in its Turin-based laboratories before taking the technology into the field by utilising its existing base stations in the city. It achieved the 500 Mbps data rates by extending the spectrum of all frequencies available for a single data connection and utilising carrier aggregation to combine LTE frequency bands.
Spectral efficiency of spectrum bands was increased by utilising updated antenna transmission systems and coding, and also through new modulation techniques.
TIM stated that it will continue to develop its 4.5G capabilities over the coming months as it works towards offering the technology in major Italian cities inline with the commercial availability of compatible handsets. It expects the first such devices to be available by the year-end.
The operator has already deployed LTE Advanced in the cities of Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Naples, Prato, Verona and Palermo, it stated.