Digital Transformation & Maturity

Can you help shape 5G innovation in the UK?

We reported just over a month ago that TM Forum is part of a consortium chosen by the government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to deliver the 5G Innovation Network.

Now, the Network wants applications from individuals to join its Advisory Board prior to its launch in March 2018 (scroll down for eligibility details and how to apply). This Board will inform and review the Network’s operations, provide a leadership focus for the UK 5G ecosystem, and advise Government as it further develops its 5G policy and programs.

So why is it important for the UK’s strategy for 5G to have a strong advisory element as part of its implementation in the UK?

A ways to go

5G is not yet fully developed, with definitive standards only due to be agreed in 2019 and incremental deployment expected over the following decade.

Based on GSMA’s analysis, the impact of mobile on UK GDP will be £112 billion in 2020, rising to somewhere between £164–198 billion per annum by 2030.

Enhancing UK capabilities at home and overseas will help attract inward investment and increase exports. Conversely, a significant lag in the development of new mobile capabilities would harm the UK’s prospects.

UK at the forefront of 5G

The UK is at the forefront of the global adoption of 5G. The UK regulatory framework is well regarded internationally, and is big enough to give a national program international significance. At the same time, the UK is small and nimble enough to make it happen without too much bureaucracy.

The Network’s 5G Testbeds & Trials program will harness the power of fast changing technology and further the UK’s leadership. It will make use of areas where the UK has a competitive advantage such as strengths in scientific research, engineering talent, and rich ecosystem of relevant technology companies, both large and small. This should help to give the UK a competitive advantage by driving efficiency and productivity, help to create the knowledge and momentum required to move quickly, and help to create the 5G ecosystem.

Helping society

5G can be instrumental in helping to address some of society’s biggest challenges, such as those faced in health and social care, focusing on areas where the Government’s role can have the most impact.

Connected care for the elderly, smart-health, connected homes and cars, and improved access for people with disabilities are all examples of applications that could benefit from 5G capabilities but there are many more.

They will become increasingly important in our lives at home, in education, at work, and in our travel and leisure time. People in countries with extensive deployments of 5G will be able to access more cultural activity, from enhanced media distribution to more engaging sporting events and unprecedented digital arts experiences.

The snippet below, taken from the government’s 5G prospectus demonstrates what success looks like for the initiative:

Advisory board selection process

A full terms of reference for the Advisory Board, outlining its mission and objectives, can be found here.

Criteria for membership:

The UK 5G Innovation Network is seeking a wide range of individual members, made up of Industry and academic/research representatives and from a cross-section of stakeholders in the 5G community.

It will appoint a suitable balance of members with experience of the supply side (e.g. providers of technology, infrastructure, operators, services) ,the demand side (e.g. customers and potential customers of 5G drawn from industry sectors), and intermediaries (e.g. regulators and standards organizations) of the 5G ecosystem.

The Network will consider all applications, but it will prioritize its selection towards those individuals who demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:

  • Senior responsibility in Industrial/Academic R&D in a relevant sector or scientific field
  • Senior responsibility for innovation in industries that are likely to benefit from 5G connectivity in the medium/long term (for example retail, health, transport, infrastructure, creative industries, manufacturing)
  • Responsibility for delivering connected infrastructure and services in UK regions/cities
  • Experience of developing and delivering large-scale, transformative digital services
  • Experience in shaping and advising policy at a senior level
  • Experience in reviewing publicly-funded innovation in digital and/or infrastructure projects
  • Relevant contacts and networks globally that would further the aims and ambitions of the Network
Chair of the UK 5G Innovation Network Advisory Board: 

The Network expects to recommend a chairperson from the short list of applicants. It would therefore be grateful if applicants could indicate their willingness to be the chairperson of the Advisory Board.

Selection process:

The 5G Innovation Network is running an open application process. The call for applications opens on 1st February 2018 and closes at noon on 28th February 2018.

All applications received on the 28th February will be scored according to the criteria above and shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend a short interview.

The selection panel will consist of representatives from each of the UK 5G Innovation Network, plus 2 independent assessors.

The final short-list of potential members will be endorsed by the DCMS before being formally asked to join.

In the case of a deluge of interest, we may ask potential members to join a short-ist for membership at a later stage (membership of the Network is reviewed every 12 months).


An indicative timetable for recruitment is outlined below:

  • Application Deadline: 28 Feb 2018
  • UK5G Selection panel shortlisting: 10 March 2018
  • DCMS Endorsement: 15 March 2018
  • First Advisory Board for Membership: 10 April 2018

If you are interested in applying to be a member, then please submit your resume, with an accompanying letter, to [email protected] by Noon, 28Th February 2018.

If you have enquiries, please contact Jon Kingsbury[email protected]

Please note: Membership of the UK 5G Innovation Network is on a voluntary, individual and advisory basis. The role is not remunerated, although the Network will reimburse members for reasonable expenses.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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