Europe’s third-smallest state, San Marino, is poised to be the first in the continent to roll out a 5G network. The 61-square-kilometer microstate, encompassed by Italy, will serve as a living lab for the network’s services, launching public safety systems, digital tourism initiatives, and smart city deployments. Below, we’ll examine how San Marino is paving the way for a new era of mobile technologies.-Bruno De Man
Future of 5G
Last year, San Marino signed a deal with Telecom Italia (TIM) to launch Europe’s first antenna featuring the latest 3GPP specifications using MIMO technology. To increase the network’s strength, San Marino will double the number of mobile masts, with plans to later deploy Nokia’s 26GHz millimeter Wave kit. In partnership with Nokia, the entire republic will be a 5G state by the end of this year. According to San Marino’s Secretary of State for Industry, Andrea Zafferani, in RCR Wireless News, 5G “will bring economic and social benefits to the whole community…and will put the Republic of San Marino in a unique position among European states in terms of both technological innovation and the efficiency and quality of services offered to tourists and citizens.”
Since the country relies heavily on tourism and banking, these are two sectors that will be affected by the launch of 5G, as the government works with various industries and local transport networks on smart city applications and virtual reality software designed to strengthen tourism. The network in San Marino will run on a 3.5 GHz spectrum, but TIM is in the process of testing 26 GHz transmission in Turin, Italy, with the hopes of rolling out these frequencies in the microstate. San Marino will conduct performance tests of network equipment and applications to help refine any issues before it’s rolled out in neighboring Italy. As part of the agreement, San Marino will “receive early access to services that will boost the local economy,” according to TechRadar.
While San Marino may be Europe’s first state to receive 5G, Berlin was the first city to debut 5G antennas, and Finnish operator Elisa boasts it will be the first to offer commercial 5G use. The Finnish city of Tampere—the home of Nokia—is already positioning itself as a frontrunner for 5G technology, installing smart infrastructure and digital connections like modern fibre and mobile networks prime for 5G when it’s ready to be rolled out.