Cambridge Wireless (CW), formerly Cambridge 3G, celebrated 15 years since it was founded to pioneer the roll-out of embryonic 3G networks this week. From its inaugural Founder’s Dinner at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the network has now grown to over 400 UK and international members involved in the wireless and mobile industry.
The idea for Cambridge 3G was first formerly conceived by Dr David Cleevely CBE FREng FIET, managing director of Analysys at the time, and Edward Astle, then chairman of 3glab.
“Our original aim was to put Cambridge at the forefront of 3G technology. We wanted real infrastructure and applications to be rolled out in Cambridge first and to create up to 50 new 3G companies in the area,” said David Cleevely.
“Plans were put into place in early board meetings to set up an ‘Applications Test Network (ATN)’ with Vodafone UK, which would act as a forum for developers to test their applications on a live 3G network.”
Rob Morland, director of Astutim Ltd, who joined the Cambridge 3G board in 2003, played a significant role in developing the ATN. “The ATN initiative was successful in installing Vodafone base stations across Cambridge; however when we launched in 2004 3G was already at a market defined stage.
“The board was of the opinion that we should make the organisation independent of cellular technology and broaden the remit. The decision was therefore made to re-launch the network ‘Cambridge Wireless’ and focus our attention towards other wireless technology initiatives with key stakeholders in Cambridge,” said Rob Morland.
Under the new brand of Cambridge Wireless the network moved from strength-to-strength. The next 5 years saw the introductions of the first Future of Wireless International Conference and Discovering Start-Ups Competition as well as Cellular 25, an event marking the 25th anniversary of the UK’s first cellular radio service.
In 2014 Cambridge Wireless was rebranded CW as the network pushed towards becoming a national/international group bringing together a diverse set of hi-tech companies from across the world.
“Looking through archives, what becomes clear is that CW would not be here without the perseverance and enterprise of those who were there right from the beginning so it’s very important to recognise that legacy,” said Robert Driver, CEO of CW.
“Moving forward there is plenty to be excited about. We were delighted to announce that Savoy Place in London has been chosen as the venue for the 8th Future of Wireless International Conference next year in June, and the 2nd CW-Tech conference is to be at the Cambridge University Computer Labs in September.
“In the longer term we are hoping to really build upon the international expansion of the network, support the members where we can in developing their own breakthrough business strategies and boost our regular event offerings.
“However one of the foundations of CW has always been the Founders Dinners and so it’s fitting that we can raise a glass to the next fifteen years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge this week,” said Driver.
The Founders Dinner on the 24 September at Emmanuel College featured an address from distinguished after dinner speaker Lucy Lombardi, SVP, Innovation and Industry Relations at Telecom Italia.