The Founder and Consulting Director of telecoms and smartcity advisor Intelligens Consulting hosted a panel discussion at the inaugural Connected North event in Manchester

Iqbal Singh Bedi hosted a panel discussion at Connected North that explored the future case of 5G networks with Jessica Ellis of the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), Rosemary Kay of Liverpool’s eHealth Cluster and Paul Coffey of the Scotland 5G Centre.

According to Iqbal, a key discussion point was the Government’s role in accelerating the rollout of commercial 5G cellular networks, particularly densified small cell 5G networks that bring very low latency and multi gigabit capability to end user devices.

“However,”, according to Bedi, “densified public small 5G networks are scarce in the UK.” To combat this, the Government launched the Digital Communications Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) which was designed to make cities more appealing for 5G small cell investment.

Telecoms expert Bedi said, “While there are some benefits to the DCIA it is unlikely to result in any significant 5G small cell investment momentum”.

He put this down to a couple of key reasons. The first reason he said was that “Mobile operators are simply not focussed on deploying densified small cell public 5G networks in city centres. Instead, their current focus is on upgrading indoor cellular networks to 5G and upgrading outdoor 4G macro networks to 5G.”

Second, there is a notable absence of a ‘killer use case’ or ‘use cases’ to incentivise invest in costly 5G networks at any scale.

Intelligens Consulting recently supported a client to overcome these issues. They developed a private-5G enabled connected tourism use case for a local authority using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR).

Bedi said, “The approach we took was based on a key principle, to ensure the use case would be commercially sustainable and independent of government subsidy.” As a result, it is expected that this private 5G network built to support a connected tourism use case could be leveraged to stimulate commercially led investment in public densified small cell 5G services.”

Intelligens Consulting has advised local authorities to unlock GBP multimillion investments in fibre, 5G and IoT networks at zero cost to the taxpayer resulting in GBP billions in economic impact creating smarter, connected places. Their team of technology, strategy, economic, procurement and finance experts can also provide strategic, technical and procurement support, research and economic analysis and can source private funders to finance the development of digital infrastructure.

Connected North will return to Manchester in 2023, before that, why not join us for Connected Britain in London in September?