San Marino will become the first European state with a nationwide 5G network, its government announced on Monday. The Republic recently signed a deal with the Telecom Italia Group that will soon see the Rome-based telecom giant deploy the necessary infrastructure to cover all of the country's 24 square miles with a fifth-generation mobile network. The Italian wireless carrier is set to begin testing its solution by next year, though the initiative itself still doesn't have a concrete launch window. However, Telecom Italia already confirmed that it will start rolling out 4.5G technologies in San Marino later this year and is hoping that some of its subscribers will already be able to access a number of 5G features in the coming months. The company is currently focused on advancing and deploying carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, superior modulation, and related technologies, all with the goal of facilitating San Marino's transition to the next generation of mobile telecommunications solutions.
As part of the newly announced initiative, Telecom Italia is set to start building new small cell sites that will be linked by optic fiber, in addition to doubling the volume of its cell towers in the country. The partnership between the two entities has officially been presented as a Memorandum of Understanding, meaning that Telecom Italia is under no legal obligation to actually deploy the technology it promised, though the wireless carrier is unlikely to back out of the deal, with the company itself likely looking to test this emerging technology before a wider rollout.
5G solutions as a whole have significant implications for a wide variety of industries and are expected to facilitate advancements in everything from self-driving cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to medical tech and entertainment, though standards bodies are still in the process of defining what these systems will actually entail. Due to that state of affairs, a tenfold increase in mobile Internet speeds that Telecom Italia is currently planning for San Marino may be dwarfed by the performance of some future networks that are also set to bear the 5G moniker. Europe as a whole has been seemingly slow to push for the implementation of 5G solutions in recent years, though the majority of its largest players in the telecom segment are still insisting that they aren't falling behind their U.S. counterparts.