Telecom Italia activates Europe’s first 5G ‘Edge Cloud’ live network in Turin
Italian telco Telecom Italia (TIM) continued its longstanding smart city technology collaboration with Turin city council by switching on what the operator describes as Europe’s first 5G “Edge Cloud” live network with connected drones, the operator said in a release.
The network is designed to guarantee very high bandwidth and low latency by allowing an exceptionally large amount of data to be aggregated and processed closer to end consumers with a view to enabling greater agility and flexibility in the configuration of ever-more advanced services and applications, said TIM.
To highlight some of the ways TIM’s new 5G edge cloud network can be used, network-connected drones for environmental and infrastructure monitoring were showed during a demo in which both the drone and the control system were connected to the 5G Edge Cloud at a very low latency. The demo also used a secure radio channel, therefore preventing possible interference with the drone.
In the coming months, trials will begin with drones connected to TIM’s new 5G Edge Cloud network for new environmental and infrastructure monitoring services in the city of Turin.
The system will monitor city rivers, allowing for preventative measures to be taken to avoid, or at least reduce, potential flooding risk as well as the infrastructure of important city monuments, ensuring any necessary preservation work can be planned. TIM also said that the drones will monitor Turin’s parks, as a way to provide greater safety for the citizens who use the city’s green spaces.
TIM has its research and development center in Turin, where its laboratories trialed the first 5G connection in Italy on a live network using the first prototype smartphone and the first live demos of 5G services aimed at the general public: vehicles, drones, Industry 4.0, digital tourism and smart city, in addition to the first remotely driven car. Furthermore, Turin, together with Rome, Naples and Florence, is one of the first three Italian cities where TIM has already switched on 5G and made its first commercial services available.
In related news, Telecom Italia will probably exclude Finnish vendor Nokia from a mobile network upgrade and award the business to Ericsson and Huawei Technologies, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the report, Telecom Italia’s managers believe that Nokia is lagging behind rivals on 5G, and that the carrier will likely reduce its mobile network suppliers to two from three.
Telecom Italia is seeking bids for a three-year project that may be worth about 600 million euros ($665 million), and will decide on the award during November. The tender has the aim of improving Telecom Italia’s 15,000 radio access sites, including a buildout of 5G services at about 5,000 sites, according to the report.
A spokesperson for Nokia said the vendor continues to see solid momentum in its 5G business. It has 48 commercial contracts and 15 live networks for the technology.
Nokia currently supplies about 30% of the carrier’s wireless gear and employs about 1,400 workers in the country. Ericsson currently supplies about 40% of the carrier’s mobile equipment, and Huawei accounts for about 25%, they said.