NICC Takes UK Telecoms into the Next-Generation

London, 27 November 2014 – The UK’s technical forum for communications interoperability, NICC, brought together the industry’s leaders for the NICC Open Forum. With 5G, IoT (Internet of Things), spectrum access, nuisance calls and CLI spoofing all hot topics on the agenda, NICC Chairman, Sir John O’Reilly, welcomed delegates to address the evolving ecosystem at a time when the industry is firmly looking to the future.

Sir John O’Reilly, NICC Chairman, said: “The pertinence of issues addressed, the calibre of the speakers we were able to attract and the depth and breadth of expertise in the audience all combined to make this a powerful event, truly reflecting the evolving UK marketplace as we look to lead the way in delivering next-generation communications to business and society in the UK.”

The conference kicked off with a keynote presentation from Prof. Jim Norton FREng, who discussed the inexorable rise of total mobility and emphasised how far the industry has come in such a short space of time. As Chairman of the Spectrum Policy Forum, Prof. Norton highlighted that the industry is nowhere near the end of the revolution in the impact of digital systems, either in terms of services or technologies, and emphasised the purpose of 5G work within the Forum and market as a whole. He addressed the drivers of the Information Age, the challenges for 5G and predicted that the next ten years will be every bit as exciting as the last.

Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect at EE followed with an engaging presentation that echoed Prof. Norton by highlighting the rapid innovation that has taken place over the years, while pointing out the industry shift away from telecoms and towards data. Sutton emphasised the role of video consumption and QoS and also looked at the commercial position of 5G for mobile providers in order to meet consumer demand.

The conference saw Prof. Rahim Tafazolli, Head of the Centre for Communication Systems Research (CCSR) at the University of Surrey provide an exploration of 5G from a researcher’s perspective. Prof. Tafazolli told his audience that connectivity is vital for the future and went on to explain how flexibility is crucial for 5G, reiterating that operators need to look at innovative and disruptive technologies as they look to deliver the capacity requirements for 5G.  Prof. Tafazolli also pointed out that the industry should learn key lessons from the past in the development of 2G, 3G and 4G in order to encompass everything on the Internet.

Ian Hindle of Virgin Media, said: “Whilst Virgin Media’s Voice Communications team participate in a number of NICC working groups, the annual Open Forum provides a fantastic opportunity to hear about up and coming technologies, such as Mobile 5G research and what other NICC groups are working on. The Open Forum also provides a great opportunity to network with other NICC members. The Open Forum is an invaluable part of the work that NICC performs on behalf of our industry group.”

The morning session also included a presentation from Huw Saunders, Director of Network Infrastructure, SITE at Ofcom, who raised the topical issue of nuisance calls and CLI spoofing. As the volume of unsolicited nuisance calls rises, Saunders explained how Ofcom is working with NICC and CPs to improve the process of tracing nuisance calls and how to clarify legitimate CLI use cases. He also emphasised that cross-industry cooperation is fundamental in order to maintain trust in telephony services of the future.

With experience in spectrum, Stephen Pattinson, VP of ARM, imparted his expertise on how to use spectrum to help stimulate the IoT. Pattinson focussed on the challenges which include the lack of standards, resource constraints and limitations in interoperability, and made clear that the industry needs to get data right in order to successfully share it.  

Also, joining the agenda, Timothy Harrold, Project Technologist at BBC Research & Development, discussed the latest developments in TV White Space technology, an area in which the UK is a front runner, and how the BBC has been working with the University of Surrey. In his presentation, Harrold imparted his knowledge regarding TV White Space appliance interference and the astonishing trials and pilots that are currently underway in the UK.

Stephen Cantrill of Telefónica and a NICC Standards Ltd Director, said: “The NICC Open Forum provides an ideal platform for industry professionals to come together once a year to review the achievements that the different working groups have made, and also look at the diverse areas of work that NICC covers and what work is being planned for the coming year. With the presentations from the external speakers it provided a valuable insight into some of the challenges facing the industry with regards to spectrum availability and usage, along with the challenges this will bring to developing 5G networks and broadcast services in the future. It was fascinating to see how chip manufacturers are working to bring the IoT into everyday life and how this will benefit us all going forward.”

NICC is a source of advice to Ofcom and Government departments on the harmonisation of technical interconnection arrangements. As such, the annual Open Forum gave NICC the opportunity to provide a work update surrounding the progress made towards the publication of key standards. This included:


·         Paul Rosbotham, NICC Director and TSG chairman ­ Nuisance Calls, update from Ofcom and NICC CLI (NICC’s recently published ND1437 and ND1016 documents)

·         Perry Wilks, SIP Task Group member and Steve Covey, Security Task Group Chair – NICC Work Programme – SIP NNI and Enterprise, and Security

·         Ken Hatt, EmLoc Task Group – NICC Work Programme – Emergency Location

·         Kevin Foster, DSL Task Group Chair – NICC Work Programme – DSL


To view all of the presentations from his year’s conference, please visit the NICC web site.

NICC publishes its standards on the NICC public web site – 

About NICC

NICC is the UK telecommunications industry committee acting as an industry consensus group in which specifications and technical issues associated with network interoperability can be discussed. It is also a source of advice to Ofcom and Government departments on the harmonisation of technical interconnection arrangements. NICC membership is comprised of UK telecommunications organisations including, communication providers, equipment vendors and service providers. For more information, go to: NICC publishes its standards on the NICC public web site –