Italy plans to hold a spectrum auction for frequencies suitable for 5G in September, a move expected to raise at least €2.5 billion for the government.

In a statement, communications regulator Agcom said the country’s Ministry of Economic Development will organise the tender, which will cover the auction of frequencies in 694MHz to 790MHz; 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz; and 26.5GHz to 27.5GHz bands.

Two blocks of 80MHz and two blocks of 20MHz will be made available in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz bands, while five lots of 200MHz will be available in the 26.5GHz to 27.5GHz bands.

The rules are also designed to also help to create new entrants, focusing purely on infrastructure in the market, the regulator added.

Agcom said the move makes it the first European regulator to define rules for the allocation of the “pioneer” bands touted for 5G

Notably, though, the UK already conducted a spectrum auction for frequencies suited for boosting 4G services and for future 5G purposes. Germany is also planning to make final conditions available for a 5G auction at the end of this year, with the process planned for 2019.

Only half of the €2.5 billion Italy expects would be raised this year, said Agcom, with the country’s major operators Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia, Wind Tre and Fastweb expected to take part.

Telecom Italia trials
In a separate announcement, Telecom Italia said it had launched the “first applications” enabled by 5G in San Marino and the first mmWave 5G mobile test device in Italy.

Working with Qualcomm and Nokia, the operator said it had kicked off the operational stage of 5G testing, with plans to upgrade its mobile network with the technology. Demonstrations during an event in San Marino covered 5G-powered smart city services, public security and digital tourism initiatives.