TIM has completed its project to virtualise its radio access network in Turin, which it described as its latest step towards 5G.
The operator has been working with longstanding vendor partner Ericsson on the project, first announced in February, which it said gives consumers the ability to use voice over LTE and access its LTE-Advanced network on virtualised infrastructure.
The completion of the project was described by TIM as an important step in its wider digital transformation strategy. It said it wants to use virtualised technology to deliver high quality customer experience as well as optimise the efficiency of its network.
Elisabetta Romano, Chief Technology Officer at TIM, said: “TIM confirms its leadership in the country's digital evolution with the first virtualised radio access network in Turin with Ericsson.
"It is a world record that will allow us once again to grasp in advance all the business opportunities that 5G, distributed cloud and the Internet of Things will further facilitate.
"In this transformation process we are working to realise new network functions, and we are ready to face other challenges to reach new segments of the market with timeliness and efficiency."
Since it launched its NFV strategy, TIM has more than 40 functions virtualised across its network. This includes the optimisation of data traffic, offering enterprises customised software-based solutions, and switching solutions for both data and voice connections.
In the longer term, the telcos are aiming to use a virtualised network to deliver Internet of Things and 5G services, which they said would increase efficiency, speed and quality in how new services are run and rolled out to customers.
Federico Rigoni, Head of Ericsson Italy, added: "In our journey with TIM, our reference partner for the realisation of cutting-edge solutions, we are committed at the forefront in maximising the efficiency and flexibility of virtual solutions and this will lead towards the automation of our Radio and Core Network functions in one of the largest networks in Europe.
"Our partnership on vRAN, where TIM is a pioneer in the world, demonstrates the evolution towards 5G has already begun, as seen by the successful deployment in Turin. We are working closely with TIM to transform this first experience into a nationwide deployment.”