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Action for 5G

Create the future
Vodafone supports your innovative project.

Applications are closed.
The Applications Evaluation phase is on going.

Terms and conditions
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

Startups, SMEs and social enterprises interested in developing their innovative project together with Vodafone Italia leveraging both on 5G and Vodafone platforms.

If your project, for the Consumer or Business market, is of high potential, synergistic with Vodafone in the sectors of interest and uses innovative and distinctive technologies, this is your chance.

What we offer


Financial support for tech development


  • Up to € 50.000 - equity free - for all finalists for the construction of the Prototype
  • Up to € 300.000 - convertible into equity - for winners who choose the “Seed-Capital” path to support the Product Development, in addition to in-kind services offered by Vodafone for the entire duration of the program (Open Lab, Vodafone MEC, Vodafone STEP, Consulting and technical-specialist support)

Vodafone MEC

Edge Cloud resources and tech support

Vodafone MEC

  • Access to MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) infrastructure, the Vodafone cloud at the edge of the network
  • Trial environment for testing on field of applications that require low latency, scalability, distributed intelligence or orchestration of connected and collaborative objects
  • Technical support for the high level design, optimization and access from 5G or 4G network

Vodafone Consulting

Mentorship, networking and visibility

Vodafone Consulting

  • Mentorship on both technical and business issues
  • Access to the Vodafone network customers and partners for market validation and international scale up with Tomorrow Street
  • Visibility during and after the program

Open Lab

Spaces, infrastructure and test devices

Open Lab

  • Access to the Vodafone laboratory in Milan, where you can test the 5G solution in a dedicated “plug & play“ environment
  • Dedicated support of specialized technicians for the necessary configurations and optimizations
  • 5G devices and SIM to trial the end-to-end solution and verify its latency and throughput requirements

Vodafone STEP

Cooperative mobility platform

Vodafone STEP

  • Access to Vodafone's pan-European cooperative mobility platform, STEP (Safer Transport for Europe Platform), which brings together automotive operators to make mobility safer and more accessible, especially for the most vulnerable road users
  • Consultancy and technical support with access to the STEP development environment through the use of dedicated SDK and API

PoliHub Support

Coaching and dedicated services

PoliHub Support

  • PoliHub coaching throughout the program and consultancy tailored to specific needs (pitch design, business model, financial plan)
  • Technical consultancy in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano on specific issues
  • Services on request such as patent search and crowdtesting and PoliHub community access

What we offer

Timeline Action for 5G


2022 edition winners

2WATCH is an innovative startup, a media-tech company operating in the e-sports and gaming sectors.

Thanks to Action for 5G, the first Virtual Idol will be created: a virtual streamer generated and animated through CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), which will be able to interact with the real world thanks to 5G, motion capture technologies and 3D modeling. The Virtual Idol will be able to carry out live streaming and create content on the main Social Networks, enter and exit the Metaverses but also participate in live events and realize IRL (In Real Life) streaming outdoors.

UBIQUICOM is an innovative SME that offers advanced IoT solutions for real-time locating and tracking (RTLS - Real-Time Locating Systems) for efficiency and safety in industry, logistics and healthcare from a lean and sustainability perspective.

Thanks to Action for 5G, UBIQUICOM will implement the 5G remote diagnostics service of the anomalies of forklifts and vehicles for intralogistics handling and their remote configuration,reducing the technician’s on-site movements with beneficial impacts on productivity and cost reduction.

2021 edition winners

Faenza-based innovative startup founded in 2015. It has developed Jobot, a flexible and cost-effective self-driving robot for indoor logistics automation.

Action for 5G will enable the creation of a new generation of AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot), the 5Gjobot, flexible in terms of adaptability to environmental changes and efficient during installation. Thanks to the low latency and ultra-reliability of 5G, 5Gjobot will be able to collaborate in real-time with each other and interact with the environmental sensors for an even better performing and reliable navigation system. Remote recovery will also be introduced to increase the possibility of robot control in special situations, such as sanitization missions carried out by the anti-Covid version equipped with UV-C lamps.

Innovative SME founded in 2012 that operates in the Smart City and Smart Industry sectors. It provides innovative solutions to make our cities safer and more liveable through the combined use of Video Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

Action for 5G, thanks to the low latency of 5G and the use of edge computing, will allow to increase the transmission capacity and computing of information by enabling new services for the detection and immediate blocking of unauthorized vehicles circulation or dangerous behaviors as well as the management of a variety of services for Smart Cities with a simple installation.

2020 edition winner

FifthIngenium, born in 2014, focuses on emerging technologies applied to business needs for manufacturing, the medical sector and the world of education.

Thanks to Action for 5G, it has implemented and field-tested with lectures at Liceo Parini and Politecnico di Milano the first 5G e-learning platform based on augmented classrooms supported by Mixed Reality and A.I.: learning spaces where students and teachers, in the same place or remotely, can interact together and with virtual objects/concepts for empowering collaboration, negotiation, and memorization skills for a personalized, shared, and immersive learning experience.

2019 edition winner

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.

Thanks to Action for 5G, Artiness created and validated, with a first clinical trial at the Cardiac Surgery Unit of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the 5G Remote Proctoring solution to remote support in real time the team of surgeons in the operating room by specialists and experienced doctors

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, Math&Sport created the first real-time game intelligence platform for both football technical staff and fans in augmented reality, successfully bringing the Football Virtual Coach to the field with many teams.

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.


How to submit a project
How can I submit my project?

Click on “Apply to the Action for 5G”, create your account and fill in the application form by 11:59 p.m. on February 1st, 2023. 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?
  • A clear and concise presentation of the project in 5G and the business opportunity (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  • 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.
  • Any further technical documentation with more details on the architecture and the solution. Optional file. (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  • A file containing the CVs of all team members (PDF, max. 10 Mega).

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, Vodafone edge computing or mobility platform, are enabling and distinctive features.

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?

It's not necessary, it's up to you. If you decide to create a spin-off, you commit to contribute resources and assets of the dedicated line of business to the project selected and funded with the Action for 5G program..

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?

The call is open also to international companies operating in Italy or wishing to start their business in Italy.

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

Yes, you can apply to the call and start testing your solution with the current NB-IoT and CAT-M technology on the 4G network on the frequency bands already available today. Subsequently, the project can be scaled on the 5G network and on further frequency bands by fully exploiting the potential of the 5G network in terms of IoT, allowing millions of objects to be connected per square kilometer.

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 or Vodafone edge computing (MEC) or connected mobility (STEP) platforms (e.g. significant improvement of the customer experience, new customer targets, new features or services).

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, using edge computing (MEC) or connected mobility (STEP) Vodafone platforms.

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

Yes, it is necessary to sign a Framework Agreement that regulates access to the various phases, to services in kind and to fundings convertible into equity. Inside the Regulation you will find the main contents of the Framework Agreement

What do you offer in the Design phase?

The selected companies will receive advice from Vodafone experts and access to technical-specialist services from PoliHub and/or Politecnico di Milano according to the specific needs of each startup/SME to finalize the design of the solution using 5G and/or Vodafone trial platforms and the related business model. It will be also possible to access the Vodafone Italia Open Lab in Milan to test the latency and throughput requirements of the end-to-end solution.

What is offered in the Prototype development phase?

In this phase, the finalists will receive a cash contribution up to € 50.000 equity free for the construction of the first prototype running in 5G and/or in Vodafone trial platforms and technical-specialist advice from Vodafone according to specific needs. Startups/SMEs will also be able to access the 5G areas of the Vodafone Italia Open Lab in Milan to develop, integrate and test their project in 5G architecture.

What will I present in the Design phase?

You will be required to submit a project review that includes the business and the pricing model, the customer experience and the 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 Prototype phase. A mock-up/demo of the product must also be presented.

What will I present at the end of the Prototype phase?

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

What will 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.

What is STEP?

STEP is the Vodafone's open, secure and reliable pan-European platform that distributes, mediates and validates V2X messages in real time using 5G, Edge Cloud and public cloud technologies through the use of SDKs and APIs. If you have a V2X solution, you will be among the first to be able to integrate your solution within STEP. The platform works on 5G technology but also on existing cellular networks and existing mobile phones handset on legacy vehicles. Smartphone apps can incorporate the V2X SDK to display alerts and events through simple information. For a user driving a vehicle that supports Apple CarPlay or the Android Auto car assistant, the notification can be sent directly to the car's dashboard for increased convenience and safety for drivers. It is also possible include handsets carried by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to create a system that is readily available. However, thanks to 5G technology offering higher speed and capacity achieving millisecond latencies, STEP enable massive and critical deployments for mobility and smart cities. With 5G in-car connectivity revolutionizes V2X deployment, allowing seamless and cooperative communication between vehicles, infrastructure and surroundings.

The fundings
How many funds are available?

Vodafone Italia finances the prototype with an equity free investment up to € 50,000 per project. The Winners of the “Seed-Capital” category will be able to receive in addition a funding convertible into equity up to € 300,000 per project according to the development plan presented and approved by the Board.

How many winning projects will there be?

Up to 3 winners of the “In-Kind” category or “Seed-Capital” one.

Can I decide whether to compete for the “In-Kind” or “Seed-Capital” category?

Yes, at the time of the finalists selection by the Evaluation Committee you will be asked to choose whether to compete for the “In-Kind” or “Seed-Capital” category.

Will the “In-Kind” winners receive cash contributions?

No, but they will receive technical consultancy services from Vodafone, access to the 5G infrastructure and devices and Vodafone experimental platforms to finalize the development of the solution and bring the first commercial trials to the field. In addition, they will benefit from visibility during and after the program.

What will the “Seed-Capital” winners receive?

The Winner of the “Seed-Capital” category will receive from Vodafone technical consulting services, access to the 5G infrastructure and Vodafone trial platforms as well as cash contributions up to € 300,000 (convertible into equity) to finalize the development of the solution and bring to the field the first commercial trials. In addition, will benefit from visibility during and after the program.

Are there any cash contribu§tions in the Design phase?

No, in this phase the pre-selected projects will receive technical-specialist and business consultancy services from Vodafone and / or PoliHub experts to finalize the design of the solution and the business plan.

How much will be disbursed in the Prototype Development phase?

Each of the finalist projects that will enter the Prototype Development phase will receive funding to cover the costs related to the 5G prototype creation, up to € 50,000 (equity free).

How will fundings be disbursed?

Fundings will be disbursed in cash and / or services subject to the signing of a Disbursement Agreement which defines terms and conditions.

What does the Seed Capital funds disbursement consist of?

Vodafone will provide cash funds for project development by acquiring, among others, the right to enter into the financed company capital.

What does the In-Kind funds disbursement consist of?

In-Kind funds are disbursed in services, such as technical and business support, access both to laboratory and the 5G infrastructure and Vodafone trial platforms to support the development and commercial launch. Vodafone will acquire, among others, the rights for commercial exclusivity or most favoured customer treatment.

What is the Pre-Seed funds disbursement?

Pre-seed funds are disbursed in equity-free cash to support the prototype development by acquiring the rights for a free and exclusive use license for 24 months.

What happens if the submitted plan is delayed?

In case of the agreed plan is delayed the subsequent disbursement will be suspended without approval by Board.

Will Vodafone market the developed product?

Yes, if the developed product successfully passes the market validation phase with a potential customer and solution integration into the Vodafone product Portfolio is approved by qualifying the partner as a supplier. In such a case the communication and go to market activities will be supported by Vodafone with own resources and sales structure.

What is the collaboration with Tomorrow Street for the international scale up?

Tomorrow Street is a joint venture between Vodafone and Luxembourg's technology incubator, Technoport. It provides business development and operational support to navigate the corporate environment, and access Vodafone's global scale. Winners of Action for 5G will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves to Tomorrow Street, after the successfull commercial launch in Italy.

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.

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.

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