5G industry news Telecommunications Topic | Open RAN

Government creates new body to make UK world leader in telecoms innovation

  • 5 minute read
  • Published by Vicki DeBlasi on 26 Jul 2022
  • Last modified 25 Jul 2022
£10 million has been awarded to launch the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN), a new body dedicated to boosting creativity in the country’s telecoms supply chain.

The UKTIN will act as an information and ideas hub for industry and academics looking to access funding or R&D testing facilities and opportunities to collaborate on developing new mobile and broadband technology. Digital Catapult, CW (Cambridge Wireless), University of Bristol and West Midlands 5G are announced today as the winners of the competition to set up and oversee the network.

The UKTIN, first announced in March, aims to make the UK the easiest place in the world to access and take part in telecoms R&D. It will guide businesses and researchers looking to access funding or testing facilities in the UK and enable the best use of public and private investment in R&D, as well as ensuring that knowledge is effectively and efficiently shared across the telecoms industry.

The government wants to support more innovators with their scaling up process, developing their products and gaining better access to markets. UKTIN will act as an information point for telecommunication companies looking to access funding or testing facilities for research and development and support their entry into the UK market. It will be run by a consortium of organisations with telecoms expertise and will provide opportunities to collaborate on developing new and improved technologies for UK mobile and broadband networks.

UKTIN will build on the great work that UK5G has been leading over the last few years and provide a single point of coordination across the UK telecoms ecosystem. The establishment of UKTIN also delivers one of the key recommendations from the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce to create a single ‘front door’ for telecoms R&D across government as we deliver our £250 million programme in the years ahead. Our ambition is that it helps to make the UK the easiest place in the world to access and take part in the telecoms innovation ecosystem, as well as ensuring that we effectively and efficiently share knowledge gained through Open Networks R&D activities in the UK across the industry ecosystem.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:

“The seamless connectivity and blistering speeds of 5G and then 6G will power a tech revolution which will enrich people’s lives and fire up productivity across the economy.

“It’s why we’re investing millions and partnering with international allies to unleash innovation and develop new ways to make these networks more secure, resilient and less reliant on a handful of suppliers.” 

UKTIN is expected to be up and running in September, at which point it will begin to take over from UK5G to help organisations get the most out of what the UK has to offer.

On behalf of the winning UKTIN consortium, Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult said:

“With the UK Telecoms Innovation Network, we have an exciting opportunity to transform UK telecoms into a growing, resilient, secure and globally significant sector.  The UK has many strengths but our ecosystem across research, development and innovation is fragmented.  I am proud to be joined by a strong consortium of partners (Digital Catapult, Cambridge Wireless, University of Bristol and WM5G) who each bring their own expertise and experience that will prove vital in coalescing and expanding our ecosystem and driving future UK capabilities”.

Mark Rayner, Chief Executive of Cambridge Wireless, said:

“Cambridge Wireless is the leading international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of new telecommunications technologies. The UK has a great track record of innovation, and we want to build on this by helping UK companies develop their ideas into world-beating commercial products. The ingredients are all in place for global success. Through the UKTIN initiative, we will be able to provide an environment which delivers substantial benefits to companies from and into the UK.”

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Head of Bristol Digital Futures Institute and Director of the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol, said:

“The University of Bristol, through the Smart Internet Lab, is an international leader in Future Networks research and innovation. Having been actively engaged with the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials and the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification programmes for many years.

Dr Jon Hunt, Executive Director, Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said:

“We are really excited by the opportunity to work in partnership with fast growing Small & Medium sized Enterprises, corporates, Government Departments and Academia to  join up, and enhance, the UK’s Telecommunications industry.

“The University of Bristol will coordinate a long-term strategy for future telecoms in the UK and build strong connections between industry and Academia, as a key partner in UKTIN.”

Robert Franks, Managing Director of West Midlands 5G Limited said:

"We’re delighted to have won this tender along with our consortium partners and DCMS. The UK already invests over £1 Billion a-year in telecoms research, development and innovation.Through UKTIN we will   turbo-charge this investment – helping the UK extend its leadership in open networks and vital new technologies such as 5G and 6G – building on the strengths of our regional clusters to create more skilled jobs, attract more investment and deliver economic growth".

Bob Driver, Head of UK5G said:

“Over 4.5 years UK5G has created a network of over 5,000 individuals and 1,800 organisations focused on collaborating, innovating, sharing best practices and learnings, and building ecosystems around 5G deployment and adoption.  I am excited that this work will now be built on through the fantastic team of partners who will be delivering the new UK Telecoms Innovation Network”.