Government invites applications for public trials; reportedly plans to raise €2.5 billion from 5G spectrum auction.

Italy has revealed a list of five cities that will play host to pre-standard 5G trials.

The Ministry of Economic Development has chosen Milan, Prato, L’Aquila, Bari and Matera. The government plans to make spectrum in the 3.7 GHz-3.8 GHz band available in these locations for carrying out 5G tests.

The plan is in line with the European Commission’s 5G Action Plan, under which member states are required to identify at least one city for 5G trials by 2018.

"We want to be in the leading group," said Antonello Giacomelli, Italy’s secretary for economic development, in a statement on Thursday. "Italy accepts the European challenge and indeed raises it."

Interested parties have until 15 May to submit proposals; projects will be selected by 14 July, and will begin by the end of the year. The trials will last until 2020.

Giacomelli said the aim is to establish Italy as "a reference point for the creation of products and services that take advantage of the [5G] technology."

With that in mind, La Repubblica reported earlier this week that the government hopes to raise €2.5 billion by auctioning 3.4-GHz-3.8-GHz frequencies for 5G services.

Giacomelli said in the report that he is working on the tender conditions together with telco regulator Agcom.

The news comes shortly after Telecom Italia announced it plans to turn Turin into Italy’s first 5G city. The incumbent will deploy 100 small cells on major streets and squares, as well as university campuses, this year, with a view to conducting 5G technology trials next year.