5G – Why Is It Different?

5G is not just an upgrade to 3G and 4G. Not just a go-faster technology; it is a whole new way of interacting with the mobile world.

This panel session explored why 5G is so different from its predecessor technologies. It looked at the underlying architecture that supports the technology, how this differs from what has gone before and the effects of the exclusion of Chinese firms such as Huawei on both roll-out and architectural design. We also discussed how spectrum is being allocated in different jurisdictions and who the winners and losers are likely to be, and  some of the developing use cases in manufacturing, smart cities, agriculture, health care, the creative industries and much more.

Our panel was chaired by Annette Nabavi, board director at WiTT, Maintel, and other organisations. She was joined by:

  • Sylvia Lu, Head of Technology Strategy, u-blox; Board Member of 5G-ACIA, UK5G and CW (Cambridge Wireless);
  • Ros Singleton, CEO at Spring Fibre; Chair UK5G Advisory Board;
  • Cristina Data, Director of Spectrum Insight and Analysis, Ofcom;
  • Catherine Gull, Head of Business Development, Three; and
  • Claire Harvey, Key Account Manager at Red Bee Media Board Member UK5G, Chair UK5G Creative Industries Working Group.

You can find a video of the panel discussion here: https://youtu.be/vGpKmxKKNxY

Speaker bios

Annette Nabavi
AHV Associates / Anchusa Consulting

Annette has a broad range of public and private board experience and currently holds a number of Directorships.  She is a Non-Executive Director on the board of Maintel Group, an AIM listed unified communications services  business.  She also serves as the Chairman of Maintels’s Remuneration Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee.  She is on the Advisory Board of the National Media Museum, part of the Science Museum Group,  and a Director of Women in Telecoms and Technology (WiTT) Ltd.

Annette is a Partner with AHV Associates, a firm of corporate finance advisors specializing in Mergers and Acquisitions, Capital Raising, Structured Finance and Derivatives Advisory work for privately owned businesses.  She specializes in corporate finance projects for small and medium privately owned enterprises in the IT, technology, telecoms and media sectors.

Annette previously held the position of Head of Telecoms Global Business Development for Corporate Finance at ING Barings where she gained significant experience in M&A, private equity, structured debt and public equity transactions.

She later became the founding director and CEO of XchangePoint Holdings Ltd, a Venture Capital backed Internet Interconnect company providing broadband metro peering services to ISPs and carriers.  Annette was responsible for tripling revenues every year for 3 years, and grew the customer base to over 100 customers while expanding the company into Germany.  She successfully achieved two rounds of VC financing.

Her early years were spent with the PA Consulting Group where she specialized in strategic partnerships, business planning and marketing strategy. She became a Senior Partner with PA before moving to Barings.

Annette holds an MA from Oxford University and a Doctorate from the University of Dijon.

Sylvia Lu, FRSA
Head of Technology Strategy, u-blox

A multi-award-winning engineer and inventor, a non-executive director, advisor and ambassador. Sylvia has over a decade of experience in the Telecoms industry for four mobile generations (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G) and was recently recognized as one of the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering. Sylvia is a Fellow of RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Sylvia is Head of Technology Strategy at u-blox, provides guidance on the impact of 5G technologies on products and strategy, as well as major inter-sector, multi-country international projects. She also provides industry-focused, independent advice to the UK government and policy panels on future plans for 5G development.

Sylvia is an elected CW (Cambridge Wireless) Board Director since 2017 and was appointed to the Advisory Board of UK5G in 2018. She was appointed as Vice-chair of UK5G International Working Group in 2019, co-leading development of UK proposition and engagement plan with overseas government and industry bodies. Sylvia initiated and recently signed a MoU with 5G-ACIA on behalf of UK5G to shape the future of 5G for Industrial 4.0.

In 2020, Sylvia was elected to the Board of 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation) to set strategic direction, collaborate with relevant stakeholders to influence 5G development and deployment in line with industrial imperatives.

Sylvia operates on an international stage as keynote speaker on 5G, emerging technologies and global standards for a wide range of stakeholders (highlights incl. House of Lords, Westminster eForum, United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union, Mobile World Congress, Ofcom, Financial Times Live, IET, IEEE), and contributes to industrial magazines and journals, some of which have been translated into 7 languages with a global reach.

Sylvia was handpicked as an Ambassador for the Women of the Future programme; she inspires and empowers female engineers and future leaders as a role model and through appearances and talks at schools and universities. She won several special recognition for her work on empowering future female trailblazers. Most recently, Sylvia was named in the prestigious Computer Weekly “Most Influential Women in the UK Tech” 2020 list.

Sylvia is also an amateur artist and was recently awarded a Fellowship at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges for a better future for people.

Catherine Gull
Head of Business Development, Three UK

Catherine Gull is Head of Business Development for Three UK and is focussed around the development of 5G, Private Networks and IoT.  Catherine led the successful 5G Create bid with the Port of Felixstowe for trialling 5G innovations at the port.  She also has been instrumental in the deployment and growth of private networks at the Port of Felixstowe, Heathrow Airport and other UK Ports.  She has over 25 years’ experience in telecoms and technology focussing on increasing efficiency through new technologies at companies.  In her career, Catherine has worked at companies such as Cable & Wireless and a small start-up called, Xtempus.  Catherine, a dual national is originally from Houston, Texas and has made the UK her home for over 18 years.  Catherine sits on the board of a South African charity, the Kay Mason Foundation, which is provides outstanding high school education possibilities for children from townships.  Catherine’s hobbies include playing Monopoly with her nephews and preparing to run a half marathon.

Claire Harvey
Key Account Manager at Red Bee Media Board Member UK5G
Chair UK5G Creative Industries Working Group

Claire is an Account Director for Red Bee Media which operates at the front line of the broadcast industry delivering critical services for the world’s leading broadcasters. She has worked across the media space, delivering strategic and high profile launches, as a founding member of one of the first cloud based production platforms, Aframe, as a digital specialist for the UK and European research funds, and as a Board Member of UK5G.




Cristina Data
Director of Spectrum Insight and Analysis, Ofcom

Cristina is the Director of Spectrum policy and analysis, Spectrum Group at Ofcom and is also a NED of the Energy System Catapult. Cristina currently leads our work on 5G and other wireless broadband technologies, considering the increasing role of wireless in enabling digital transformation across a wide variety of industry sectors and with a focus on assessing the implications of growing demand on future spectrum policies. Prior to working on 5G, Cristina led the development of a new spectrum sharing framework, and launched Ofcom open data policy. In particular Cristina was responsible for the release of the UK Interactive spectrum map and the release of information on spectrum use in open format. Prior to joining Ofcom Cristina held various marketing and strategy roles at Telefonica O2 (group strategy functions), EE (then Orange, in finance and marketing), and Red Bee Media (strategy and market intelligence functions ). Cristina holds a Master Degree in Management Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino university in Italy.

Ros Singleton
CEO at Spring Fibre; Chair UK5G Advisory Boad

Rosalind Singleton is a CEO, advisor, investor and board chair with over 30 years of experience in the technology sector.

She is the CEO of Spring Fibre, an FTTH start up and the Chair of the UK5G Advisory Board.  UK5G is the national innovation network dedicated to the promotion of research, collaboration and the commercial application of 5G in the UK, providing advice to and working closely with the Department for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport (DCMS).

For the last five years Rosalind has been an active angel investor and mentor and has led several deals, focussing on tech businesses with a female founder.  She is a member of the Angel Academe Advisory Board.

Rosalind joined UK Broadband in 2013 and was Managing Director from 2017 until 2019.  She has previously held senior roles at BT Openreach, Cable and Wireless, Vodafone, various VNOs, and international operators.

Rosalind is a member of Ofcom’s Spectrum Advisory Board which provides independent advice to Ofcom on strategic spectrum management issues and an advisor to multiple start and scale-ups.