WindTre, Italy's number one mobile operator providing mobile, fixed and broadband services, announced that its 5G Time Division Duplexing (TDD) Network now covers 67.2% of the population. In addition, WindTre covers 95.9% of the population in 5G Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) DSS mode. Both technologies offer overlapping coverage, which gives the flexibility of capacity and coverage. This network coverage expansion followed the January 'Zefiro Net' Joint Venture (JV) announcement between Iliad Italia and WindTre.
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WindTre 5G Network
WindTre implemented a 5G Non-Standalone version of 5G. A 3GPP standard, in which the network uses a 4G Channel and a 5G channel in mobile communication simultaneously. WindTre says it has implemented 5G technology nationwide with overall current coverage of more than 95.9% of the population using the latest technologies available. The telco implemented 5G NR in Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) mode on FDD frequencies at 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz (5G FDD DSS) and 5G NR on TDD frequencies at 3600 MHz (5G TDD on C -Band).
5G FDD DSS technology allows the same FDD spectrum to be dynamically used in shared mode for both 4G and 5G connections. The network intelligently and quickly chooses between 4G and 5G based on the type of terminal and the offer subscribed by the customer. WindTre says 5G TDD Technology used spectrum (3600 MHz) reserved for 5G connections only.
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WindTre 5G Speeds
WindTre also shared the theoretical maximum speed its technology and carriers can deliver. For example, under single-user 5G connections, the 5G TDD 20 MHz carrier can deliver a downlink throughput of approximately 290 Mbps, and the 5G FDD DSS 20 MHz Carrier can deliver a downlink throughput of approximately 280 Mbps.
Likewise, 5G TDD delivers an uplink throughput of 20 Mbps, and 5G FDD DSS delivers approximately 70 Mbps. In addition, WindTre implements 5G NSA technology and, through dual connectivity technique, can theoretically deliver a maximum of about 1.6 Gbps.
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WindTre 5G Priority Pass
WindTre offers 5G Services with a 5G Priority Pass, where users can experience excellent performance even when multiple users are browsing simultaneously and in the most congested areas.
WindTre 5G Network Expansion
WindTre, in September 2022, said its 5G TDD network using the 3.7GHz band now reaches 61.6% of the country's population, up from 53.1% in March and 45.6% in January. The current 67.2% per cent coverage update follows the past network coverage milestones of WindTre.
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Zefiro Net JV between Iliad and WindTre
In January 2023, Iliad Italia and WindTre closed the 50-50 joint venture first announced last year to share the costs of building 5G networks in underserved parts of the country. "Both parties will jointly manage their respective mobile phone networks in Italy's less densely populated areas." The JV has received regulatory clearance from the competent authorities. "The two operators will work synergistically to accelerate the coverage of mobile phone networks, including 5G, to provide ultra-broadband connectivity services for residents of the areas where the joint venture operates."
Zefiro Net acquired the ownership of the infrastructure that allows the provision of mobile services in an area where about 26.8% of the Italian population resides. As of September 2022, Iliad Italia had more than 9.3 million active users.
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WindTre selects Ericsson 5G Core
In July 2022, WindTre announced the selection of Ericsson to deploy container-based dual mode 5G core for Standalone on Cloud infrastructure. According to the statement by Ericsson, "The new long-term agreement will see WindTre bring its 4G, 5G Non-standalone and 5G Standalone services into a dual-mode 5G Core that combines Evolved Packet Core and 5G Core network functions into a common cloud-native platform for efficient Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and a smooth migration to 5G and that will be hosted by a full stack Ericsson Cloud infrastructure."
Ericsson's dual-mode 5G Core supports WindTre network's 5G service expansion for both Non-Standalone and Standalone services.
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WindTre Considering Network Sale
In a related news, WindTre is planning to spin off its network assets into a separate company as it resumed talks with a Swedish private equity firm, according to a report by Reuters. WindTre, like its counterparts in the Italian telecommunications industry, has been facing intense price competition that has resulted in reduced earnings, just at a time when significant investment is necessary for constructing a 5G mobile network.