Home5G & BeyondUK Gov funds £10m 'Search for a Tsar' contest to find 5G...

    UK Gov funds £10m ‘Search for a Tsar’ contest to find 5G supply chain diversity supremo


    Must be creative while doing exactly what it says on UKTIN

    The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) has revised the terms of a competition that aims to find a public-facing body to support the goals of the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy. With ten million pounds at stake for the winning entrant, the government is cautiously fine tuning its search for a figure head. Now the search has been extended for someone who understands its long-term vision for the telecoms access supply market and can galvanise the various factions into acton.

    Supplies element

    In a paper, The 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy (2020) described where competition and innovation could expedite the creation of new installations characterised by open interfaces and interoperable standards. These flexible networks could support an environment in which a diverse community of participants thrives on mutually supportive business cultures. This would nurture creativity which would in turn increases competition and choice. The diversity of options would create versatility and adaptability and the interchangeability of equipment in the supply chain would create resilience and immunity to contagious problems such as viruses and state hacking.

    Open RAN

    Given the dominance of existing suppliers the government felt the seedbed needed some preparation and The Telecoms Diversification Taskforce was appointed by the government in 2020. Its role was to think of measures to create conditions for sustainable diversification in the telecoms supply chain. The Taskforce was composed of figures from industry and academia, chaired by ex-BT CEO Lord Ian Livingston of Parkhead, and has been providing independent advice and scrutiny to the Government as it takes action to rebalance the supply chain. The Telecoms Diversification Taskforce Findings and Report highlighted that cross-government telecoms R&D activity and funding is currently fragmented, particularly in research and testing. The telecoms R&D ecosystem is vast, expanding and evolving, with the emergence of multiple suppliers and new entrants delivering open interfaces and interoperable equipment, while government funding and activity for R&D is fractured and lacking in coordination.

    UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN)

    The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) is an open competition, run by the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) It will allocate up to £10 million of funding to a single consortium to set up a public-facing body that support the goals of the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy and delivers on the recommendations set out by the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce. UKTIN is aimed at supporting the telecoms industry to navigate the UK’s telecoms research and development ecosystem and drive the development of open networks.


    Now they need some ideas. Up to £10m is available for the competition. However, applicants are required to submit two responses to all of the questions in the application, one which represents a delivery plan with a budget of maximum £5m, and another for a delivery plan with a budget of maximum £10m. DCMS officials reviewing the applications will then use their discretion to determine which bid represents the best value for money based on what they think is required to deliver UKTIN. The competition opened on March 22nd, was revised on May 4th and the deadline for submission of applications and all the required supporting appendices has been announced as May 20th.