Public initiatives consistent with the core business
By way of example, here are some of the projects carried out in 2015 in response to the needs of the Community using Telecom Italia technologies.
In a national and international context in which crisis and conflict scenarios multiply, against an ever-increasing number of individuals in need and emergency situations, private fund-raising is a key factor in the cohesion and support “from person to person”.
For over ten years, Telecom Italia has been a key player in the solidarity chain associated with humanitarian, scientific or environmental projects which it supports by allowing people to make a donation of 1 or 2 euros by sending a text message and of 2, 5 or 10 euros by calling a dedicated free number from a land line.
Of the 100 numbers intended for the voluntary sector, 20 are shared with other operators, of which 2 are for emergencies. The amounts collected are returned in full, with no withholdings applied by either the tax authority or the Company for the costs incurred.
113 fund raising events were organised in 2015 and a total of around 20 million euros were collected1.
In 2015, “Dono per...” (meaning “I give for…”) was established, a limited liability consortium company founded by Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia and Wind, that will deal with all initiatives for the raising and distribution of funds for charity as well as loans to political parties or movements, as envisaged by the new legislation. The company is a non-profit organisation and, therefore, any operating profit will be used for social projects. The new legal entity will guarantee a standardised, shared approach with regards to non-profit organisations, political parties, institutions and the media. The Consortium is open to adhesion by other telecommunications operators.
The term Social Innovation defines the set of new ideas that respond to the needs of society more effectively than existing alternatives, while at the same time developing new relationships and collaborations to strengthen it.
The recent WithYouWeDo crowdfunding platform receives requests for donations from public and private entities intending to implement projects in the fields of social innovation, environmental protection and digital culture. In order to promote crowdfunding, in addition to making the technological platform available as necessary for on-line collections (withyouwedo. telecomitalia.com), the company also undertakes to contribute 25% (up to a maximum of 10,000 euros) towards the financing of projects reaching the objective (8 in 2015) and supports, with communication, both aspiring designers (approximately one thousand are involved in the tour that in 2015 involved 13 Italian cities) and projects selected to enter the platform, also through a partnership with the radio broadcast SmartUp of Radio105. In all, more than 270,000 euros were collected.
Applying the metrics of the CSV model, the contribution generated2 in Italy, in terms of social value is equal to 320,000 euros in addition to the positive impact on the Company reputation due to the 12 million social reaches, 168 press releases, 1 million page views and 225,000 video views generated by the project.
Furthermore, Telecom Italia is a founding member of the Digital Champions Association. The Digital Champion, a position created by the European Union in 2012, is an innovation ambassador, appointed by each Member State of the European Union and the European Commission to promote the benefits of an inclusive digital society. The project involves the appointment of a Digital Champion for each municipality (in the Country) to represent European authorities across the Country. This partnership qualifies Telecom Italia as the first Company to be linked to a wider and geographically extensive network of Italian innovators. The joint projects between Telecom Italia and the Association are: Italiani. Digital a true online help desk to answer questions Italians have about digital technology, #DigitalDays on e-billing and Digital Championship, a digital talent show to bring out the Country’s digital talents and gather together the best practice developed in the different geographical areas.
Applying the metrics of the CSV model, the contribution generated3, in terms of social value it is equal to 85,000 euros in addition to the positive impact on the Company reputation due to the 22 million social reaches, 82 press releases, 54,697 page views and 5,205 video streaming generated by the project.
Research and development in Brazil
In the 2014-2015 period, TIM Brasil has invested over 2 billion euros in innovative infrastructure, and the plan for the 2016-2018 period is to invest around 4 billion euros, almost entirely dedicated to boosting the Country’s 4G coverage.
At TIM Brasil, Research and Development is carried out by the Innovation & Technology department - headed by the Chief Technology Officer - numbering 32 telecommunications, electrics and electronics engineers, IT experts and other technicians of varying origin, competence and experience, which cover all the network competences, pursue the innovative needs and provide support to R&D. The main responsibilities of this department are the definition of the network’s technological innovation, the evolutionary needs for new technologies and devices and the architectural guidelines together with the development of strategic partnerships, so as to exploit the new business models and guarantee the evolution of the network infrastructures according to business strategy. In terms of infrastructures, one important result was the constitution of the Innovation Lab, which consists of a multi-purpose test environment based in Rio de Janeiro, which is able to guarantee the assessment/validation of innovative services, products and technologies, certifying their functional efficiency and performance and developing new models and configurations, thus consolidating the innovation flow. The Innovation Lab plays a strategic role in providing support for the conduct of Credibility Test, Trials and Proofs of Concept, for the validation of the services in collaboration with the main suppliers of technology and partners, through the sharing of knowledge and the technological infrastructures for interoperability tests, the assessment of capacity and the definition of technical requirements; in synergy with the R&D department, it facilitates innovation and promotes collaborations with universities and research institutes.
In 2015, more than 200 projects of validation and innovation were completed, which will tend to increase in view of the extensive range of innovation and research and development initiatives underway. In this sense, the 2016-2018 technological plan envisages investments in excess of 30 million reais in this project, which also includes the construction of a new Innovation centre in Guaratiba, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, a building with a surface area of 1,000 square metres able to hold more than 60 people. This new office, which will operate as a national reference point for R&D activities will host technicians and researchers and will be used as an open space of innovation for new opportunities and the development of innovation for the Brazilian telecommunications market.
The Innovation & Technology department has worked on projects aiming to ensure the evolution of the business of TIM Brasil through the recommendation of sustainable, efficient network platforms and “disruptive” models, including anticipating the availability of new services.
The reassignment of the 1,800 MHz spectrum from 2G to 4G is bringing about three important competitive advantages for TIM Brasil: 1) reduction of the costs for the deployment of LTE; 2) increased area of LTE coverage; and 3) improvement of indoor coverage. In addition to the expansion of coverage, use of the 1,800 MHz bandwidth can supply an increase in capacity to cities already covered by the LTE bandwidth at 2.6 GHz, at only a small additional cost. Another important consideration in this scenario is that 70% of current LTE terminals are already compatible with the bandwidths 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz, hence the implementation of LTE 1,800 MHz is proving to be a great strategy thanks to the dissemination of devices. On October 30, 2014, TIM acquired a national block (10 + 10 MHz) in the 700 MHz bandwidth. Its use, however, is subject to the cleaning of the spectrum (at present, it is used for the transmission of analogue TV). To this end, in order to manage the switch-off, in Brazil the successful bidders on the auctions of the 700 MHz bandwidth have created a new entity, the EAD (Entidade Administradora fare Processo de Redistribuição e Digitalização de Canais de TV e RTV), in order to manage the spectrum cleaning and avoid problems with interference. TIM plays a guiding role in the group of operators, identifying opportunities to support the switch-off of analogue TV.
1 The amount collected by the date the 2015 Sustainability Report was presented, has been estimated; moreover, the amount collected is not directly attributable to the campaigns run in the calendar year due to the time lag between invoicing and payment.
2 For more details, please refer to the CSV sheet WithYouWeDo.
3 For more details, please refer to the CSV sheet Digital Champions.