9 June 2022

David Willis to lead Ofcom’s work managing the UK’s airwaves

David Willis has been appointed Group Director, Spectrum, bringing 30 years of technology and telecom experience in government and industry to the role.  David joins Ofcom’s Senior Management Team.

He will join Ofcom to oversee its Spectrum Group, which ensures that the UK’s wireless spectrum – a valuable, finite national resource – is used efficiently and effectively.

Most recently David was President of the Communications Research Centre, the Government of Canada's research centre for advanced wireless telecommunications, spectrum management and helping to improve broadband services for Canadians.

Before this David led the Spectrum Engineering and Planning team at Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada. Here his work included international spectrum standards; wireless spectrum engineering and planning; satellite spectrum policy, licensing and coordination; and leading the Canadian delegation at the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference.

David has also held leadership roles in product management, operations and engineering at BlackBerry and Nortel Networks.

Ofcom’s spectrum team perform a wide range of critical tasks to manage the airwaves that people rely on. Millions of people use spectrum to communicate wirelessly every day; from mobile phones to wifi for computers, baby monitors, satellite services, emergency and defence services, aeroplanes, TVs and radios.

The team identifies which airwaves are best used by existing and emerging technology to provide the services needed by people and businesses across the UK. They oversee the UK’s spectrum plan, to optimise capacity and avoid interference between different users. And they license spectrum to individual users, as well as ensuring that people only occupy airwaves they are entitled to use.

Ofcom also oversees the sale or release of spectrum for important new services, such as 5G mobile or climate mapping, and works with international partners to standardise how spectrum is used across the world.

"It is a pleasure to be joining Ofcom to lead its experienced and innovative team of spectrum management professionals. I am looking forward to working with Melanie and the rest of the Ofcom team to support and enable the wireless services that are vitally important to our lives."

- David Willis

“David will bring a wealth of technology experience and an international outlook to the role of Group Director. I’m very much looking forward to working with him.”

- Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom's Chief Executive

Melanie also thanked Helen Hearn, Ofcom’s senior spectrum director who has led the Spectrum Group on an interim basis since January. Helen will continue in place until David arrives  to ensure continuity.

A previous appointment, Dan Lloyd, was unable to take up the role of Group Director, Spectrum for family reasons.

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