Vodafone Italy has acquired spectrum to enable the deployment of new 5G technology for a total cost of €2.4 billion.
The spectrum will deliver substantial network operating cost efficiencies to meet the expected future growth in data traffic.
The spectrum acquired in the auction hosted by the Ministry of Economic Development comprises:
•3700 MHz – 80 MHz for €1,685 million, available from 1 January 2019 with a licence duration of 19 years.
•700 MHz – 2 x 10 MHz FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) for €683 million, available from July 2022 with a licence duration of 15.5 years.
•26 GHz – 200 MHz for €33 million, available from 1 January 2019 with a licence duration of 19 years.
The 3700 MHz spectrum acquired can be immediately utilised by Vodafone Italy to enhance coverage, improve capacity, and for the rapid development of 5G services.
When it is available from 2022, the 700 MHz spectrum will be used to deploy enhanced 5G services, providing nationwide coverage at very high speed and very low latency for next-generation applications including IoT, virtual and augmented reality, connected vehicles and robotics.
Vodafone can also use the 26 GHz spectrum acquired to deliver high capacity services in densely populated locations such as city centres, sports stadiums or industrial plants.
Vodafone is also leading 5G trials promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development in Milan and its metropolitan area, with the aim of transforming Milan into the 5G capital of Europe. Vodafone expects to have already achieved coverage of 80% of Milan and its metropolitan area by December 2018.
Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said: “Auctions should be designed to balance fiscal requirements with the need for investment to enable economic development. Telecoms is the sector that enables all other sectors to participate in the Gigabit society. It is critical that European governments avoid artificial auction constructs which fail to strike a healthy balance for the industry.”