The new Italian mobile joint venture between Wind Telecomunicazioni and 3 Italia is preparing to award a EUR1 billion (USD1.05 billion) network upgrade contract to ZTE of China. Reuters cites two sources close to the matter as saying that a final deal has yet to be signed, but ZTE has already been notified that it was the winning bidder. Wind and 3 are reportedly looking to expand their combined 4G LTE coverage to match that of rival operators Telecom Italia (TIM) and Vodafone.
Separately, TIM has launched what it claims are Europe’s first 500Mbps LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) services in three Italian cities. The cellco is offering the high speed service in Rome, Palermo and San Remo, and plans to expand to Naples, Milan and Turin in the coming weeks. The only handset which currently supports the new download rate is the Sony Xperia XZ smartphone.