Ian Smith announced as Head of UKTIN

Ian Smith

We are delighted to announce Ian Smith has joined us as the Head of UKTIN. Smith brings over 30 years in telecoms, with hands-on experience designing, building and operating fixed and mobile networks, and a wealth of commercial expertise. Smith previously worked as the Chief Technology Officer at Quickline Communications, and Programme Director for the 5G Testbeds and Trials programme for UK government.

Joe Butler, Chair of the UKTIN Project Board and CTO at Digital Catapult, said of Smith’s appointment:

“We are at an exciting point in UKTIN’s journey, as we look to build on the positive impact we have achieved over the last 12 months, with a very strong and committed set of partners and team. We are thrilled to have Ian join us as we embark on our next steps. I, along with many people in the UKTIN project and wider ecosystem, have had the pleasure of knowing Ian for many years and have seen first hand both the strength of his expertise and his passion for driving UK telecoms forward.”

Read our interview with Smith below.  

  1. UKTIN has just passed the milestone of one year of delivering services to the ecosystem – what attracted you to lead the team during this next stage in its journey?

    I am extremely excited about all the opportunities UKTIN creates for UK academia, industry, standards and both domestic and international telecoms policy development. The UKTIN team has established a strong connection with the ecosystem and is acting as a representative voice of the telecoms sector.  As UKTIN enters this next stage in its journey I am looking forward to continuing the great work that is delivering so much benefit to the UK.  

    It is incredibly inspiring if you stop and reflect on the amount of change in the digital landscape in the last six years, from a world without 5G, to the rise of AI, new optical fibre solutions coming from the UK that will revolutionise the industry, the promise of what 6G will bring and future advancements and more. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!

  2. Where do the UK’s strengths in telecoms lie?

    I see six key areas in which the UK excels on the global stage:

  • Research and Development - The UK boasts world-class research institutions and a strong R&D ecosystem, contributing to advancements in telecommunications technologies.
  • Innovation - UK telecom companies are at the forefront of innovation, driving advancements in technologies such as optical communications, quantum, AI, wireless technologies for 5G and beyond, and digital services.
  • Infrastructure - The UK has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, including fibre-optic networks, 4G and 5G mobile networks, and extensive coverage across the country, further supported by a strong alt-net community to fill in the gaps.
  • Competitive Market - The UK has a competitive telecom market with multiple players offering a wide range of services, fostering innovation and providing consumers with choice.
  • Regulatory Environment - Our regulatory frameworks promote competition and consumer protection while encouraging investment in infrastructure development and service expansion.
  • Skills - The UK workforce possesses incredibly highly skilled people across our sector, supporting the development and adoption of new technologies and services in the telecom sector (although there is a challenge around growing the new skills needed for a future telecoms sector in the UK).
  1. What are the big opportunities for the UK as you see it and how can UKTIN support in realising those?

    There are some important opportunities for the UK telecoms industry which UKTIN can support, from building future capability through to actively facilitating broad-scale adoption. My time leading the 5GTT programme demonstrated that bringing together industry stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators to collaborate on initiatives that promote innovation, investment, and infrastructure development is critical to future success. My vision of how UKTIN can support the myriad opportunities in the UK is grounded in facilitating collaboration. 

    This collaboration starts by taking a sectoral view as to the opportunities and challenges we face, co-creation of a shared strategic vision, and runs all the way through to knowledge sharing and providing a platform for sharing best practices, research findings, and market insights. In this way we can help all involved in the ecosystem to thrive and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

    UKTIN should be an advocate for informing policies and regulations that support the growth of the UK telecoms industry. Helping inform and shape UK policy around Telecoms is a fundamental cornerstone of what we do. UKTIN is unique in representing all the different subsystems of telecoms and has a critical part to play in being the “voice” of UK telecoms.

    And as mentioned earlier, skills in the telecoms sector are very much in short supply - we have some incredible talent but simply not enough of it. UKTIN is in a prime position to leverage its industry and sector wide connections to shine a light on the exciting career pathways telecoms offers, inspiring and educating education leavers and career switchers to come and join us.  

    It’s a fantastic opportunity and I can’t wait to get started. I encourage those who want to come on board to reach out to us on enquiries@uktin.net.

Share article