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ARTICLE: Solving the 5G business case

I was invited by Connected Britain in September this year to moderate a panel on building a business case for 5G. This article touches on some of the points discussed in the panel and provides public authority decision makers with ideas to accelerate 5G investment and enabling whole-organisational digital transformation.

The challenge with the 5G business case

I moderated a similar panel on the case for 5G not so long ago at Connected North in April 2022. At that time there was tremendous excitement around the government funded DCIA intervention programme designed to kickstart 5G investment through streamlining telecoms processes and resources.

The business case for 5G does not yet stack up

5G needs kickstarting as mobile operators remain focussed on adding capacity in urban areas rather than building ubiquitous high-performance standalone 5G networks across towns and cities. Mobile network and wireless infrastructure operators regularly tell us that 5G network investment is limited as the business case does not yet stack up due to the lack of compelling 5G use cases and demand.

Alternative methods to stimulate the demand for 5G

In our experience, however, streamlining telecoms processes and resources does not stimulate demand.

Therefore, public authorities need to consider alternative methods that stimulate demand if they wish to attract 5G investment in their towns and cities. To address this, many public authorities have resorted to deploying private 5G networks.

Public authorities have resorted to deploying private 5G networks

Unlike public 5G networks, private 5G networks are closed high-performance networks that exploit 5G’s higher speed, low resilience, and security capabilities.

For example, Intelligens Consulting has advised one public authority to develop a connected tourism use case that leverages private 5G networks to offer an augmented and virtual reality tourism experience to tourists.

In another example, Worcestershire County Council, focused largely on Industry 4.0 productivity and even built a private indoor 5G network in a UK factory at Worcester Bosch.

West Mercia Rural 5G Project supports remote monitoring of patients and connected workers utilising wearable video and using mobile telemedicine to make better use of limited time and finite resources using private 5G networks.

In addition, BCP Council has approved a multimillion-pound investment in health, environment, transport, tourism and public security 5G pilots as part of their wider

Smart Places programme.

Use cases attract seed investment in 5G networks

These use cases not only anchor demand, they attract seed investment in 5G network infrastructure enabling the potential for the embryonic growth of public 5G networks.

Key considerations

However, this approach will only work if the investment made in private 5G networks can be monetised. Public authorities need to take account of this when designing their private 5G network strategy.

Consider other technologies and outcomes-led decision making

Decision makers should consider other technology options to achieve their outcomes

Public authority decision makers should also be open to other technology options and think more holistically about developing a comprehensive outcomes-led digital strategy and roadmap rather than just focussing on 5G.

Digital strategies should consider how technology can be deployed to achieve whole-organisational outcomes such as improving service delivery, enhancing productivity, and in reducing costs. It may transpire that alternatives to 5G are better suited and more likely to achieve business outcomes.

Please contact us on should you wish to discuss anything discussed in this article.

Intelligens Consulting is an award-winning telecoms and smart city advisor. Our expert and senior team is experienced in network, strategy, economics, procurement and financing. We provide investors, operators, and policy makers with technical, strategic, implementation and commercial advice.

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