5G North East, the consortium leading the development of the region’s plan to create a national 5G testbed has appointed a highly-experienced project director.

Xavier Priem will lead the drive to position the North East as a key focus for the UK’s 5G revolution.

Xavier has extensive experience working for multiple telecom suppliers, their customers and, network operators. He has established specialist 5G research and innovation centres and projects across Europe.

His appointment comes as the Government is looking to establish the UK as a global leader in 5G enabled communications and is seeking to establish a group of testbeds to trial the technology.

Xavier said: “This is a fantastic chance to establish a transformative ecosystem that will create new jobs and economic opportunities for the North East.

“I come from the North East of France which has in many ways followed a similar trajectory as the North East of England, reinventing itself and generating new economic opportunities in technology and innovation following the decline of traditional industries.

“Having the opportunity to contribute to establishing the North East as a technology- enabled innovation powerhouse within the UK and global community is a very exciting role to undertake.

“I am looking forward to helping to create 5G North East and delivering new economic value and improved services for people in the region. Success for 5G North East will see the generation of new jobs, the bringing of new industries to the region and the creation of new opportunities for local businesses to develop high value services on a 5G network that will provide operators with testing capabilities. It will ultimately lead to wider roll out and better mobile services to the general public.”

Xavier’s previous posts include three years as business development and portfolio manager at the French Institute of Research and Technology (IRT)

Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East LEP, one of the consortium partners, said: “The North East partners are committed to producing a strong and long term programme that will showcase the region’s suitability as a testbed and lead to a sustainable 5G delivery system in the region.

“We are delighted to welcome Xavier to the team. We are confident his experience in research, project management and commercialisation strategy, and his vast technical, commercial and global network knowledge will help position and elevate the North East’s reputation in the 5G ecosystem.”

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