In our first look at the 5G experience in Italy, we see all four national operators featuring as winners in multiple mobile experience categories. TIM is the sole winner, and by a large margin, in 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed. It also shares victory in our three experiential awards that measure 5G users’ experience when streaming video, playing multiplayer gaming and using voice app communications services over a 5G network — 5G Video Experience, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience. WindTre dominates both our awards which measure the extent of a 5G network — 5G Availability and 5G Reach. Vodafone is a joint winner in 5G Video Experience, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience, while Iliad places first alongside TIM and Vodafone in both 5G Video Experience and 5G Voice App Experience.
The four Italian mobile operators launched their 5G networks between June 2019 and December 2020, and have since expanded their 5G services. WindTre recently reported it covers more than 95% of the population with 5G DSS, which is by using its 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequencies for 4G and 5G simultaneously. WindTre is also deploying its 3.7 GHz band with which it claims to cover more than 40% of the population.
Iliad, TIM and Vodafone have focused on rolling out 5G across major Italian cities using spectrum in the 3.7 GHz band they acquired at 2018’s 5G spectrum auction. Recently, Vodafone announced that it will have 5G networks in 50 to 60 cities by the end of this year — up from 25 cities in October. TIM reported it will expand its 5G offering to more than 20 cities by the end of 2021. On the other hand, Iliad claims its 5G is now available in parts of 27 cities. Iliad, TIM and Vodafone also secured licenses on the 700 MHz frequency band — which is better suited to increase 5G coverage — but need to wait until July 2022 for that spectrum to become available.
Despite Italian mobile operators being busy deploying their 5G networks, the Italian government is exploring initiatives to expand 5G coverage across the country. Its 5G plan targets improved connectivity for major rail lines and sparsely populated areas to support rural economies such as agriculture.
In this 5G Experience report, we analyzed our users' 5G experience in Italy on each of the four national operators, Iliad, TIM, Vodafone and WindTre, over a 90 day period starting on July 1, 2021, and ending on September 28, 2021. We have also published a companion report — Italy Mobile Network Experience — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in Italy.