Samsung Electronics and Italian telco Fastweb are to conduct Italy’s first 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) trial on commercial spectrum. Companies are trialling to demonstrate how 5G FWA networks could serve as a compelling alternative to FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) to deliver ultra-broadband connectivity and gigabit experience to end users.
Following the recently-signed agreement by the companies, the trial – which commenced the first week of February – will last for five months across multiple residences and offices in Milan.
In the first week of the trial – held on 26GHz of spectrum recently acquired by Fastweb during Italy’s 5G frequencies auction in October 2018 – download speeds reached 1 Gbps. The next steps will verify the effectiveness of 5G FWA networks concerning the cost and time for its deployment compared to conventional FTTH roll-out as well as potential operational challenges in the provision of the service to the end customers.
Samsung supplies Fastweb with an end-to-end 5G FWA solution that includes core, 5G Radio Access Units that leverages millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum to provide high-density coverage and ultra-high-bandwidth connectivity to 5G home routers (Indoor Customer Premise Equipment), installed in nearby homes or offices.
“We are excited to deliver the first 5G FWA end-to-end connectivity in Italy with Fastweb to bring the next generation speed to users,” declared Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung will work with Fastweb to turn the vast potentials of 5G FWA using 26GHz into true benefits for both customers and enterprises.”
“This trial has already confirmed the outstanding performances of 5G FWA and the capability of this technology to provide a ‘fibre-like’ ultrabroadband service to families and business in areas not reached by FTTH,” said Alberto Calcagno, CEO Fastweb. “To accomplish our mission of addressing the market needs and enhancing user experience, we will leverage 5G FWA to expand the coverage of our proprietary ultra-broadband infrastructure. We are confident that with this trial with Samsung, we can demonstrate both the technical and commercial feasibility of mmWave FWA in Italy.”
Fastweb is moving forward with these tests because Italy offers the ideal conditions for 5G FWA technology to power domestic broadband, thanks to fibre being widely available at cabinet level, making it easier to deploy antennas for 5G FWA at ideal distance from the buildings. Furthermore, TV antennas are pre-installed on 99 per cent of the roofs, facilitating easy installation of additional equipment. After the successful conclusion of the tests, Fastweb says it will usher in a new generation of connectivity to Italy.