Vodafone Italy is expected to launch a series of trials of its under-deployment Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at the nation’s football stadia, starting with Torino’s Stadio Olimpico. Maximum downlink transmission speeds of 100Mbps have been promised to users of the free trial service. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in November 2011 Stefano Parisse, director of Strategy and New Business at Vodafone Italy, confirmed that his company intended to commence its EUR1 billion (USD1.38 billion) rollout in 2012, with a ‘massive launch’ to follow in 2013.
The news, which has been widely reported in the Italian press, follows last week’s revelation that Vodafone’s chief rival Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) announced the launch of public LTE trials, also in Turin, between 16 and 22 February. Members of the public are able to trial LTE USB dongles, which support mobile broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps (downstream) and 50Mbps (upstream), at special demo stations at TIM’s point of sale in Turin.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late September, after 22 days and 469 separate rounds of bidding, Italy’s Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico (Ministry of Economic Development, MdSE) confirmed that the country’s spectrum auction finally closed, with the four mobile network operators – TIM, Vodafone Italy, Wind Italy and 3 Italia – submitting combined bids worth in excess of EUR3.9 billion.