San Marino, said to be the world's oldest surviving republic, is one of the world's smallest countries and the third smallest country in Europe, with only Vatican City and Monaco being smaller. In a population of roughly 35,000 Sammarinese people, they are serviced by 3 mobile operators.
: Founded in 1992 and headquartered at Falciano provides communication services like GSM (900/1800 MHz), GPRS, EDGE, UMTS (900/2100 MHz), HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, DC-HSPA+, LTE (800/1800/2600 MHz), LTE-A. The company share is owned by Telecom Italia San Marino.
The micro-state signed a memorandum of understanding last year with Italian telecoms group TIM to become a 5G guinea pig. Since it only consists of 61 sq km and has more relaxed laws on airwaves it is a far more suitable testing ground for 5G than surrounding Italy. Small territories have been used in the past for telecoms testing. The first 3G trial in the UK took place on the Isle of Man, while the remote Isle of Bute in Scotland was used to test “white space” technology.
Giovanni Ferigo, head of technology for Telecom Italia Mobile, said San Marino’s 5G network would be the first in Europe “for sure”. Mr Ferigo said the work done in San Marino would play a critical role in the future of 5G technology in Italy but was also crucial to the wider European sector as standards for the new network are refined. He argued that Europe was central to the development of 2G technology but lost that leadership position to Far Eastern carriers in 3G and to the US for the 4G upgrade. “For 5G, our intention is a European leadership in standardisation,” he said.
This has now resulted in the activation of the first 5G network hubs in San Marino, in partnership with Nokia and Qualcomm, which included a millimeter wave 5G mobile test device using the Snapdragon X50 modem.
“By the end of the summer the first mobile sites will be adapted to the new 5G radio interface, coinciding with the progressive introduction of small cells, small and low power antennas which, connected by fibre optic cable and located in various areas of the country, will provide performance levels unattainable with current technologies, and with minimum environmental impact.”
“Today we have reached a new important milestone, which confirms TIM’s ability to be a leader in innovation processes in the sector, a role we also play at global level, contributing to establishing the 5G standard. By enabling new generation services in San Marino, we are looking forward to the future, paying particular attention to the development of innovative services related to public safety, transport, tourism and Industry 4.0 which enable the Smart City model”.
The presentation of the new services and the first 5G mobile test included live demos of the first 5G services, that will soon be available in the territory of San Marino, for example:
Public Security services which, thanks to a system of cameras constantly connected to police stations, will guarantee video surveillance during public events;
Services for Industry 4.0 to provide local industry with integrated system of production and logistics which makes the most of the processing capacity made available by the cloud, with obvious economic and time savings;
Digital tourism services which, using Virtual Reality solutions, allow to explore remotely local sites of artistic and cultural interest, providing an immersive experience.
The gradual adaptation of the 5G network will enable the creation of an ecosystem of local partners, including government bodies of the Republic of San Marino, the University and Research Centres, the Social Security Organisation, the National Tourism Office, Service and Production Companies, the Police Force, with whom TIM will test innovative 5G services for Smart Cities, Public Safety, the Environment, Healthcare, Tourism, Culture, Transport and Media.
Among those present was Marco Podeschi, Secretary of State for Culture and Innovation who commented:
“Thanks to 5G the Republic of San Marino will become a state-of-the-art tourist centre, with the new networks and services using Virtual Reality, our country will in fact become a pole of attraction for digital tourism as well, allowing a growing number of people to appreciate its architectural and cultural beauties, exploring them in an immersive mode, even remotely.”Last week, state of San Marino chose ZTE to implement the new state public network and implement a series of technologies for the provision of new-generation services in the smart city sector. The creation of a training center for TLC (San Marino Telecom) technicians and experts is also planned. Spotlight on Expo 2020. More details (in Italian) here and here.