2021 edition: 2.500.000 fund for the new call 2021

Vodafone supports your project in 5G.

For whom

Who can apply

Startups, SMEs, and social enterprises with dedicated assets and resources can present ground-breaking projects for their development or enhancement with 5G technology.

Looking for

Looking for

Projects, solutions and innovations that implement at least one of the 5G Factors in the Sectors and with the Technologies of interest.

You can submit projects already on the market, in which 5G technology improves the user experience or enables new functions, or projects still in the early stage and can only be realized with 5G.

What we are looking for image

5G Factors

Millisecond latency
Ultra-reliable, low latency communications: 1-10ms.

Ultra-mobile broadband
High speed mobile connection: 10-100Mbps per user with peaks at 1-20Gbps.

Millions of connected devices
100,000 to 1 million connected devices per km2  with low energy consumption.



  • Education
  • Energy & Smart Grid
  • Entertainment & Gaming
  • Healthcare
  • Industry 4.0
  • Mobility & Transport
  • Retail
  • Safety & Security
  • Tourism
  • Wellbeing & Sport Tech


  • AI / Machine Learning
  • AR / VR / Extended Reality
  • Edge Computing
  • Haptic Feedback
  • Holography
  • Human-Machine Collaboration
  • Precise Vehicle Localization
  • Robotics
  • Video Recognition
  • V2X & Collaborative Vehicle
What we offer

What we offer

2.500.000 In funding and services

2.900 hours of 5G technical and design consultancy

Open Lab 5G with Edge Computing (MEC) and 5G test devices

Partner Network for potential involvement in market validation

How to apply

How to apply

  • Create your
  • Fill in your profile data
  • Join the Workshop Action for 5G
  • Complete and send your application within February 1th, 2021
Immagine come partecipare

Timeline Action for 5G

Next steps

Applications open
October 1st, 2020

Applications close
February 1st, 2021

Projects preselection
March 2021

Finalists selection
June 2021

Winners selection
November 2021

Action for 5G

Stats of Action for 5G



projects presented
 to the board


2018 edition winners

Innovative startup by Milan established in 2016. Apply mathematics and data science to the world of sport to optimize performance.

Thanks to Action for 5G it will make the stadium fan's experience more interactive and engaging with game information in real time augmented reality.

Innovative startup by Ferrara born in 2014 and focused on augmented reality in support of training and maintenance activities for the world of manufacturing.

Thanks to Action for 5G it will implement a remote assisted maintenance solution in 3D augmented reality and real time collaboration.

2019 edition winners

Innovative startup and spin-off of Politecnico di Milano founded in 2018. Artiness develops novel algorithms for applying mixed reality technologies as a support tool for surgical interventions by visualization of 3D patient-specific models.

Action for 5G will allow to transfer remotely the holographic support to the operating room with real-time long-distance interactions from specialist and expert medical doctors.

2020 edition finalists

Ultiverse is an initiative born from the experience of Beyond the Gate, a startup based in Milan with the ambition to create a gaming platform, able to transform every physical location into a virtual reality gaming arena, immersive and multiplayer.

Thanks to Action for 5G, the setup of its solution will be really simple and fast with low latency real-time interaction. Players will just have to wear the VR device connected in 5G, grab the controllers, and they will be ready for the action.

BRAIN Consulting, startup founded in 2015, is an “on demand” R&D department for startups and companies. It is focused on Hardware & Software development and the making of highly innovative projects.

Thanks to Action for 5G, it will bring to market “.pl4y”, your virtual and global rehearsal room. A mobile app for performers and audience that will allow you to play with anybody, remotely, as he was just next to you and closely follow your favorite artists.

FifthIngenium is an innovative IT company founded in 2014 and focused on emerging technologies in support of business needs in the manufacturing and medical sectors, as well as in the world of education.

Thanks to Action for 5G, it will revolutionize the concept of education 4.0 with remote virtual classes that simulate real situations, with real-time interactions trainer-trainees for a personalized and immersive learning experience based on Mixed Reality and Augmented Intelligence.

REJOINT, innovative SME from Bologna founded in 2015, introducing personalized knee replacement treatment following the patient journey thanks to Additive Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things technology.

Thanks to Action for 5G will be possible the remote monitoring and remote surgery supported by mixed reality (AI technology preop planning and intraop view) with semi-active and full-active robots to provide better outcomes and increasing the surgery quality.


What is 5G?

5G is the new mobile communication technology. Not simply an evolution of the current 4G network, but it also envisages the introduction of new infrastructure paradigms to allow the introduction and the development of innovative services and products. 5G will make possible to manage new connectivity scenarios characterized by very high reliability and very low latency.

What will change with 5G?

Not only 5G will improve connection speed (which may exceed 10 Gbps) butit will also allow the development of applications that require low latency (response time will drop to 1-10 ms) and high reliability (mission critical services) or the connection of millions of low-energy objects and sensors per square kilometre (massive IoT services).

What is Massive MIMO?

Massive MIMO (Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output) is a feature of the new 5G antennas that allow to direct the power toward each user in an efficient and dynamic way, increasing the cell capacity, the transmission speed (throughput) and improving the radio conditions.

What is the MEC?

The MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) is an architecture that makes possible to bring closer to the user some application functions that currently reside on central servers, minimising the latency between the user and the application. As a result, part of the intelligence can be transferred from the device to the MEC platform within the 5G network. This will reduce the computational complexity of the device, simplifying the hardware requirements.

When and where will 5G be tested?

5G Trial is underway in the Metropolitan area of Milan (where it has been assigned to Vodafone), Prato and L'Aquila (assigned to Wind Tre and Open Fiber) and Bari and Matera (TIM, Fastweb and HUAWEI) on the 3.6-3.8 GHz band frequencies assigned for experimentation by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE).

What is it Vodafone 5G trial in Milan?

Vodafone, with the contribution of important industrial and technological partners, is testing the potential of 5G, creating advanced services thanks to the development of specific practical applications.

Can I take part to Vodafone Trial in Milan?

No, because 5G Trials restricted to specific technological and institutional partners who have already been selected and announced to the Ministry of Economic Development. If you would like to develop your product or service in 5G, you can take part to the call Action for 5G.

What is Action for 5G?

Action for 5G is Vodafone Italy call for startups, SMEs, and social enterprises to support the development and growth of innovative projects in 5G. It is a real opportunity with 10 million euros of investments in 4 years in cash and services. This year is the third edition of the call Action for 5G.

Is commercial 5G already available?

Yes. To be able to use the 5G network you must have a device and a plan enabled for 5G.Currently it is available in certain areas of Milan, Bologna, Turin, Rome and Naples.

How can I browse in 5G with my smartphone or tablet?

To browse on 5G network you must have a device and a plan enabled for 5G, a SIM card with a capacity of at least 128K, and be under 5G network coverage.

Action for 5G
How to submit a project
How can I submit my project?

Click on “Apply to the call”, create your account and fill in the application form by 11:59 p.m. on February 3rd, 2020. You can complete your application gradually, saving the filled information as you go and by clicking on “Complete application” submit it. The participation is free of charge, and there are no obligations.

Can I submit more than one project?

Yes, by creating an Action for 5G account for each project.

Which documents should I enclose to my application?
  1. A clear and concise presentation of the project in 5G and the business opportunity (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  2. The URL of a video pitch lasting 4-7 minutes, uploaded onto a free platform (like YouTube or Vimeo) in which the team introduces itself and describes the project. Remember to provide the password if the access is protected.
  3. Any further technical documentation with more details on the architecture and the solution. Optional file. (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  4. A file containing the CVs of all team members (PDF, max. 10 Mega).

Although the application form will be in Italian, all the documents can be either in Italian or English.

What must the presentation contain?

The presentation must include the competitive scenario, the description of the needs fulfilled by the solution and the addressed target, the technology developed and/or used and the future evolutions, the business model and the development plan (timing and costs) for the different phases of Action for 5G. It must communicate the strengths of the solution, showing how 5G technology is an enabling and distinguishing feature.

Can I participate if my startup is in the establishing process?

No, the startup must have already been established when the project is submitted.

If I have a SME or a social enterprise with a cutting edge project in 5G, can I submit a project?

Yes, you can participate in the call if you have an innovative project with a reliable and defensible competitive advantage, in which 5G is a distinctive and enabling feature. You must also have assets, resources, and teams dedicated exclusively to the project you intend to present.

I am an SME, should I create a spin-off dedicated to the specific project?

Yes, but only if Vodafone would decide to enter into the company equity. In this case, the SME should be already committed to creating a spin-off in which puts the business line dedicated to the project selected and financed within the program Action for 5G.

Can I participate in the call if my project is involved in one of the 5G trials in Italy?

Yes, but only if you take part in the Vodafone 5G Trial and with different projects from those involved in the 5G Trial itself.

Is the call open only to Italian companies?

Yes, only legal entities that are already operating or are going to do so in Italy can participate in the call Action for 5G.

Can I participate in the call Action for 5G if I have a company that does not operate in Milan?

Yes, it is not necessary to operate in the Milan area.

If my project works with the existing 4G/4.5G/NB-IoT technologies, can I participate in the call?

Yes, but to be selected you must prove the benefits brought to the project by 5G (e.g. significant improvement of the customer experience, new customer targets, new features or services).

If my solution requires the Internet of Things, can I participate to Action for 5G and test it in 5G?

Yes, you can participate to the call and start testing your solution with the existing NB-IoT technology on the 800Mhz band frequencies already available today. The project can then be scaled to the 5G network to fully exploit it the additional features in the IoT area, allowing the connection of millions of objects per square kilometre using the 700Mhz band when it will be made available by the Ministry of Economic Development.

If my project works with the existing 4G/4.5G/NB-IoT technologies, can I participate to the call?

Yes, but to be selected you must prove the benefits brought to the project by 5G (e.g. significant improvement of the customer experience, new customer targets, new features or services that can be provided).

Can I participate in the call if my project is still an idea without a prototype?

Yes, but only in the case of innovative ideas that can be developed exclusively in 5G. Projects at the stage of idea will not be accepted if a prototype can be developed using existing technologies (e.g., 4G, NB-IoT) and 5G is not necessary.

The call phases
If my project would be selected, should I sign a contract with Vodafone?

Yes, it is mandatory to sign an “Accordo Quadro” that regulate the access to the different phases of the call and the related funding.

What do you offer in the 5G Design phase?

To the selected companies will be offered advice and support on the 5G technology by experts from Vodafone Italia, Politecnico of Milan or other technology partners. You will have access to the Vodafone Italia Open Lab and the Open Lab Campus of Politecnico of Milan. Furthermore, depending on the spending plan presented, companies can access a first cash contribution to complete the integration of their product or service with the 5G technology in order to develop a demo.

In what consists of the due diligence?

The companies selected to enter the Development and Lab Testing phase will undergo due diligence. External investors and consultants, chosen by Vodafone, will analyze information on the company (organizational, corporate, economic-financial structure, among the others), its potential, and the project itself. They may ask companies additional details.

What do you offer during the Development and Lab Testing phase?

During this phase, finalists will receive a further cash contribution from Vodafone for the creation of a prototype in 5G. Companies will have access to the 5G Vodafone Open Lab and to the Open Lab Campus of Politecnico of Milan to develop and integrate their projects with the 5G technology. Companies will also be able to use the MEC and the available 5G devices with the support of Vodafone technical staff.

What must I present at the end of the 5G Design phase?

You will be required to submit a project review that includes the business and the pricing model, the customer experience and the 5G architecture of the solution including end-to-end data flows, the development plan and a 3-years financial plan, indicating the funding required, along with the detailed spending plan for the Development and Lab Testing phase. A mock-up/demo of the product must also be presented.

What must I present at the end of the Development and Lab Testing phase?

You will be required to submit a prototype, developed and tested in Lab and based on the 5G architecture.

What must I present at the end of the Product Development phase?

During this phase, you should complete the development of the solution in 5G. Further, you should include the market and the technical field validation. You will then be ready for the commercial launch.

The fundings
How much funding is available?

Vodafone Italia has allocated €10,000,000 for Action for 5G over four years. A total of €2,500,000 is available for the third edition of the call. The winning projects will have access to the more significant contributions: up to €1,000,000 per project, depending on the development and market launch plan presented and approved by the Board.

How many winning projects will there be?

We expect to select one or two winning projects.

How will the funding be disbursed?

The funding will be disbursed in cash and/or services, in different tranche based on the phases of the call and subject to the signing of an “Accordo di Erogazione” that specify terms and conditions. The funds made as seed capital, in-kind or pre-seed form, may be converted into equity by Vodafone.

In what consists of the disbursement of funding in seed capital?

In the case of particularly strategic projects, Vodafone will disburse the funding in cash, acquiring the right to enter into the capital of the financed company, among the others.

In what consists of the disbursement of funding in kind?

If Vodafone has a commercial interest in the project, funding will be disbursed to support its commercial launch, and Vodafone will acquire, among other things, the exclusive commercial rights for a period of 24 months after the 5G market launch.

In what consists of the disbursement of funding in pre-seeding?

If the project is extremely innovative but requires further design phases, Vodafone will disburse funding to support the additional development and it will acquire the first-look rights for future rounds of funding.

What does the disbursement of funding in seed capital consist of?

In the case of particularly strategic projects, Vodafone will disburse the funding in cash, acquiring, among other things, the right to entry into the capital of the financed company.

How much will be disbursed during the 5G Design phase?

During this phase, the selected projects will receive technical-specialist advisory services and an initial funding, depending on the spending plan submitted by the candidate.

How much will be disbursed during the Development and Lab Testing phase?

Each of the finalist projects that reach the Development and Lab Testing phase will receive a second funding, depending on the spending plan submitted and the achievement of the goals set.

Can the funding be used after the Development and Lab Testing phase?

Yes, the disbursement of funding will begin in 2020 in line with the various phases of Action for 5G, but the funding can also be used later, depending on the plan submitted and approved by the Board and the achievement of the goals set.

What happens if my project will be selected as the winner?

Each of the winning projects will start a Product Development phase and will receive a funding up to 1.0000.000€, depending on the spending plan submitted and of the reach of the defined goals.

What happens if there are delays to the plan submitted?

If the plan is delayed and the Board does not approve the changes, the subsequent funding will not be disbursed.

Intellectual property
What happens to intellectual property rights existing before entering the call?

The selected company will retain the ownership of the intellectual property rights accrued before entering the call Action for 5G.

What happens if intellectual property rights emerge during the call phases?

The selected company will acquire the ownership of the intellectual property rights, granting Vodafone the free and exclusive use right and the economic exploitation for a period of 24 months.

Is it possible to enter into an NDA to protect the confidentiality of my idea/project?

Yes, an NDA will be signed between the candidates and Vodafone in order to guarantee the mutual confidentiality of information, data, and documents of private or confidential nature. Information on the chosen project may be made public while still maintaining the confidentiality of its innovative content.

Innovation and collaboration

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