The UK Government recruited a panel of eight industry experts to help investigate ways to attract new 5G equipment suppliers following its decision to ban Huawei, with the group also set to assess development of open RAN.

In a statement, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced its Telecoms Diversification Task Force would be chaired by former BT CEO Ian Livingston.

Other members include Vodafone UK CTO Scott Petty, Openreach CEO Clive Selley and chair of the UK5G Advisory Board Rosalind Singleton.

The task force will be charged with providing independent advice as part of an ongoing government review into supply chains of fixed and mobile service providers. The project was launched in the wake of branding Huawei a high risk vendor and subsequently banning the company.

DCMS said its aim was to help diversify operators’ supply chains and ensure “companies do not have to use high-risk vendors like Huawei or rely on individual vendors” to provide network equipment.

UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden said the group would help the government “push ahead with bold ideas to break through the barriers stopping suppliers from entering the UK” and put the country “at the forefront of innovative new mobile technologies”.

Its ultimate goals include attracting new vendors into the UK market to compete with Ericsson and Nokia, and explore ways to incentivise R&D into emerging technologies including open RAN.