techUK's Diversifying Telecoms campaign
Recent months have shown us how important resilient, high-quality telecoms networks are to our economic and social well-being.
The Government’s recent decision to remove Huawei from the UK’s 5G networks by 2027 was accompanied by the announcement of a three-pronged approach to diversification. This is to ensure that the UK is not left depending solely on the other two major telecoms vendors – Ericsson and Nokia – who can provide products from 2G to 5G.
To ensure the approach to diversification is as effective as possible, a new Taskforce has been appointed, led by Lord Ian Livingston of Parkhead, which will drive forward ongoing work to diversify the UK’s telecoms supply chain and reduce reliance on high-risk vendors.
The Telecoms Diversification Taskforce will look at ways to develop the capability of the UK's vibrant and innovative telecoms sector, such as how to incentivise research and development in the sector, and accelerating the development of open and interoperable equipment which can be used by multiple vendors, such as OpenRAN. In November 2020, government published the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
While Open RAN equipment is still sub-1% of global telecoms sales, its development could allow the break-up of the traditional monolithic telecoms architecture into interoperable sub-systems, with different vendors providing differing parts of the system. Not only could this dramatically improve the resilience of the UK’s vendor supply base, it could also open the way for the UK to lead in the development of this global trend. As an enabler for change in how mobile networks are built and operate, questions will need to be asked about the security of Open RAN too.
Private networks are also an important innovation in helping to unlock the value that 5G can deliver. They can also be at the forefront of the UK’s push to diversify its supply chain through disaggregated networks in both the core and RAN. Often unencumbered by legacy equipment and requiring greater flexibility than is offered by traditional vendors, private networks could be at the forefront of this diversification push whilst enhancing their own offering.
techUK's Diversifying Telecoms event series
techUK is exploring the opportunities and challenges of diversifying the UK’s telecoms supply chain, including what is needed in terms of R&D funding, more mature standards and demand side changes to supercharge the UK’s telecoms supplier base. Our Diversifying Telecoms event series will explore these issues and more.
techUK’s Diversifying Telecoms event series is organised through our Telecoms Resilience and Security Working Group.
Campaign week — March 2021
From 22-26 March 2021, techUK ran a dedicated campaign week on Diversifying Telecoms featuring over 30 guest blogs and insights from members, stakeholders and industry experts. During the week, we explored explore topics and themes in telecoms diversification, and the future of the UK's networks such as the potential of open and disaggregated networks, key security and resilience challenges in 5G, and how to drive demand diversity through enterprise and non-public networks. We took a look at what's on the horizon—the innovation and emerging tech that may come to shape our communications infrastructure.
techUK's Communications Infrastructure Programme brings together government, the regulator, telecom companies and its stakeholders around four themes; shared infrastructure, security and resilience, unlicensed spectrum and our 5G ecosystem. We do so to lower the cost to the sector of deployment, ensure confidence in networks, spur innovation and unlock value for all parties in 5G. This is delivered through a mix of thought leadership, multilateral engagement and ecosystem building.