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San Marino will be Europe's first 5G nation

(Image credit: Image Credit: Flex)

One of Europe's smallest countries has revealed plans to be the first in the world to feature nation-wide 5G network coverage.

The republic of San Marino, sandwiched between France and Italy, has announced plans to launch superfast next-generation networks in the near future, allowing its 30,000 residents to enjoy quicker and more reliable internet speeds than ever before.

The launch comes in partnership with Italian operator Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), which announced the deal with San Marino's government earlier this week, and should allow for the testing of 5G networks to begin as early as next year - far ahead of the 2020 deadline set by the European Union.

TIM will soon begin updating the country's mobile infrastructure network to 4.5G speeds, including the installation of a small cells network across the historic centre of San Marino, a Unesco world heritage site.

The work will double the number of existing mobile sites across San Marino, and enable TIM to start undertaking the first ever tests of a 5G network on a national scale much sooner than expected. The company will use additional frequencies across the mobile and small cell networks that will enable much broader bandwidths to be used, combining this with more advanced masts, will allow the system to reach performance levels that current mobile technologies.

“We are extremely satisfied and happy that TIM has chosen the Republic of San Marino as the first country in the world to test an innovative technology like 5G, linked to the mobile network," said Andrea Zafferani, Secretary of State at the department of Industry with responsibility for Telecommunications. "The services and applications that will result from the introduction of 5G can only bring benefit, in the immediate future, to the manufacturing world and the community of San Marino.”

“The signing of this agreement demonstrates TIM's capacity to be a leader in innovation processes," stated Giovanni Ferigo, head of technology at TIM. "We are among the first in the world to invest in the development of new ultrabroadband networks: they are the future, fast connections and the development of the city. "

"When we talk about big data, digital identity and the Internet of Things, we are aware that underlying all this there is always the quality and speed of the networks. TIM has the privilege of being the leading company for the development of our digital culture, and, today, this agreement adds another major building block to our strategy, allowing us to create the First 5G State in the World, projecting the Republic of San Marino into the future ahead of countries such as Japan and South Korea, which have always led the way in technological innovation."

The news come shortly after the UK government revealed plans for tests of 5G networks to begin as early as 2018 spearheaded by three UK universities.

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.