WindTre: Making Rapid Progress with 5G
Release Date：2021-09-22 Author：Reporter: Sarah Ginevra Pace Botteri Click：
Italian telecommunications operator WindTre is accelerating the rollout of a nationwide 5G network. Benoit Hanssen, CTO of WindTre, shares the company's efforts in the on-going deployment of the 5G technology as well as his perspective on how to unlock the revenue potential of 5G.
As an excellent operator in Italy, WindTre started 5G deployment last year. How does WindTre achieve rapid commercial use of 5G in the entire network?
When WindTre merged a few years ago, we did a lot of preparation work that helps us now in a very smooth and rapid deployment of 5G. As a matter of fact, we've already achieved national coverage on 5G using the technology called the dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). That means that the 5G is deployed on existing 4G frequencies. As customers start to use 5G, the network automatically switches between them. That's given us a very big advantage, because that way we have been able to deploy 5G nationally very quickly. Now, in the second phase, we're adding capacity as more customers start to use 5G.
As is known to all, Italy was seriously affected by the epidemic in 2020. How does WindTre effectively promote and guarantee the progress of 5G project construction in accordance with the established 5G deployment milestones?
The COVID-19 pandemic also hits Italy pretty badly. We've seen several national lockdowns in the last 18 months. Despite the sadness of all the people that were affected by that, as WindTre, we've been able to continue our operations. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of all the teams from WindTre, from ZTE and all of our other suppliers, we've been able to continue to roll out the network.
As a matter of fact, as customers can work more from home and as children took their classes using Google Meets or ZOOM, we saw that the network usage went up tremendously. But as I said, thanks to the tremendous efforts of our teams, we've been able to keep the network in good shape and also augment the services so that everybody could do what they needed to do from home.
How does WindTre consider the evolution of 5G networks, such as mmWave and SA? What's your view on the introduction of new 5G services? How to further improve the stickiness and ARPU of 5G users and reduce the scissors gap of data services?
We're also making steps to go to the next version of 5G—the so-called standalone (SA) where it does not depend anymore on the 4G network, where customers can develop and use the new capabilities of 5G such as ultra low latency or mass connectivity of machine to machine devices. With those features, we'll see quite a lot of new applications being launched in part by WindTre, but also by other partners (e.g. application developers) who see a benefit of the new technology.
Establishing national coverage was a big job and an important first step to take. But the evolution of 5G will take at least another 10 years, and we'll see lots of new things that today we cannot say what they are or even anticipate what they are. I'm sure just as previous generations I see a lot of opportunities, a lot of hope for new businesses to start and new things that we will do together and also for individuals.