West Midlands 5G (WM5G), a new organisation set up to deliver UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed in the West Midlands, has appointed Igor Leprince, a telecoms market executive with more than 25 years’ experience, as chair of WM5G board.

Leprince will report to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), whilst overseeing the WM5G programme to accelerate the deployment of 5G and fibre networks and trial, prove and scale innovative new 5G services, paving the way for the future roll-out of 5G across the UK.

Leprince, who previously held the position of President of Nokia Global Services, has extensive experience of working with a variety of network operators, equipment and service providers. At Nokia, he led a team of 25,000 telecom professionals, was responsible for €6bn of P&L and formed part of the group executive team, which was at the forefront of the development of 5G technology.

Since leaving Nokia, Leprince commenced a new career path as an Angel Investor, Board member and Chairman of several companies in the Technology sector including: Senior Advisor for Bain & Company; Investor and board member for Avanseus, Fil Rouge Capital and InBot and Chair of AWTG Ltd.

On his appointment, Igor Leprince said: “I have a real belief that 5G can and will bring significant positive change and opportunities to businesses and society, not just in the West Midlands region but throughout the UK. I am very excited to be chairing WM5G and look forward to helping drive the 5G agenda.”

Deborah Cadman, chief executive at WMCA, said: “We are delighted to welcome Igor as chair of the WM5G board. With 25 years’ experience in the telecoms industry and exposure to the development of 5G technology, we are confident he will be an invaluable asset to the team and instrumental in making WM5G a UK-wide success.”

WM5G’s initial focus will be on accelerating deployment of the infrastructure required for 5G, and building health, industry and mobility testbeds. The organisation is working closely with manufacturers, SMEs, universities and hospitals across the region on new digital applications that will help drive economic growth and benefit people’s lives.